Caesars dealers vote
in favor of new union

Mar 20, 2007 5:42 AM

A sweeping majority of table games dealers at Caesars Atlantic City approved unionization with United Auto Workers, making them the city’s first casino dealers to join a union.

The vote, which was made public Sunday and included keno and simulcast workers, passed 572-128 and affects about 860 full- and part-time employees.

A spokeswoman for Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns Caesars, said the casino company will challenge the results and accused the union of threatening employees to vote for unionization. The company wants another vote.

The response came less than 12 hours after votes were tallied late Saturday night, setting the stage for the National Labor Relations Board — an independent federal agency — to consider the casino company’s objections.

A UAW spokeswoman said the vote reflects a decisive desire to unionize, one she hopes will spread to dealers in other Atlantic City casinos.

On March 31, dealers at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino will participate in a similar vote.

"It was very decisive, and people had made up their minds it was in their best interests to have union representation," said Elizabeth Bunn, UAW secretary and treasurer. "Prior to the vote, there was lots of discussion in the workplace. People were anxious to get to the election, get to the bargaining table."

In the past 25 years, four attempts to organize casino dealers in Atlantic City failed.

Harrah’s spokeswoman Alyce Parker said Sunday the company plans to contest the union’s practices in rallying support for the vote.

"While the election results have indicated that Caesars’ dealers wish representation, we believe that the conduct of the United Auto Workers union and their supporters, including threats to employees if they did not vote for the union, as well as false accusations that Caesars bribed employees to buy their vote, destroyed conditions for a free and fair election," said Parker, reading from a statement.

Bunn denied the casino’s allegations.