UNITE HERE Files Complaint Over Suspended Tropicana Casino Workers

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Local 54 of the labor union UNITE HERE filed complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after 21 union members who work at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., were suspended indefinitely after participating in a peaceful protest against the casino. The union members were among 49 arrested at the protest. In response, casino management suspended the workers indefinitely for "allegedly engaging in illegal activity that interfered with the casino's customers." It seems pretty clear that firing workers for union activity is in violation of NLRB rules. The workers were protesting the lack of a new contract and the fact that the casino is ending its employee pension plan.

UNITE HERE Local 54 has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board in Philadelphia over Tropicana's illegal suspension of 21 workers who engaged a peaceful first amendment protest which included a civil disobedience action.

In a letter to the NLRB accompanying the charges, Local 54's attorney wrote, "Tropicana, however, chose to use this demonstration to restrain, coerce and intimidate its employees by suspending shop stewards and bargaining committee members." The letter continues "It is quite obvious that Tropicana's latest tactic of suspending certain of the employees who engaged in the demonstration is intended to chill employee support for the Union during this critical phase when Tropicana has already made unlawful unilateral changes."

"These workers engaged in a peaceful act of civil disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. We are asking the NLRB to seek an injunction to stop Tropicana's illegal actions and get these workers back to work so that they can provide for their families. We've done civil disobedience before, and no company has had the audacity to fire its workers over it. This just shows how outrageous Tony Rodio's leadership is," said Bob McDevitt, President of the 14,000 person union.

According to the letter, the workers who were arrested "were charged with two petty disorderly persons offenses under New Jersey law. Petty disorderly persons offenses do not constitute crimes under New Jersey law."

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