Workers’ unions clash over smoking in Atlantic City casinos

Home » Workers’ unions clash over smoking in Atlantic City casinos

The United Auto Workers Union, which represents workers at three casinos in New Jersey, is suing to overturn the state’s law allowing smoking inside casinos.

UAW’s Shawn Fain said the move comes so casino workers can be equally protected under New Jersey’s Smoke Free Air Act of 2006, which protects workers from secondhand smoke in most workplaces.

“Casino workers are being left out in the cold when it comes to the Smoke Free Air Act,” he said.

However, Local 54 Unite Here President Donna DiCaprio said foot traffic and in-person revenue has been on a downward trend at the casinos, and a smoking ban could be a death blow.

“We’re not pro smoking,” said DiCaprio. “We think that the current arrangement can and should be improved, but a total smoking ban is just not the answer.”

She went on to cite data collected by the union that found between 50% and 72% of the total brick-and-mortar gaming revenue at certain casinos is generated in the smoking sections.

DiCaprio also pointed to nearby competition in neighboring states like Pennsylvania, where smoking is legal in casinos.

“Atlantic City is very fragile. As you can see, the in-person visits are down,” she said.

Fain said UAW is suing New Jersey because allowing smoking in casinos is unconstitutional.

“Every worker deserves a safe and healthy workplace. It’s a basic human right,” he said.

“Atlantic City casinos are forcing workers to gamble with their health and their futures.”

A compromise bill to allow smoking in limited areas was introduced in Trenton earlier this year, but it’s not yet scheduled for a vote.

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