Unionized employees at Isle Casino Pompano Park in Pompano Beach, Florida voted over the weekend to hold what would be South Florida’s first casino workers strike.
Reno, Nevada-based casino operator Eldorado Resorts purchased the property’s parent company, Isle of Capri Casinos, in the spring of 2017 in a $1.7 billion cash and stock deal. Shortly after, Eldorado laid off more than 80 unionized employees at the Pompano Beach casino, which accounted for about a fifth of the venue’s unionized workforce.
Isle Casino Pompano Park’s workers are represented by Local 335 of UNITE HERE, a major labor union representing tens of thousands of hospitality workers across the North American continent.
About 93% of the casino’s unionized employees voted on Friday and Saturday in favor of holding a strike. According to a statement from UNITE HERE Local 335, “employee frustration and dissatisfaction with the company’s constant reductions to staff levels and amenities for guests led to Saturday’s vote.”
News about the upcoming strike arrive after negotiations between Isle Casino employees and the property’s new owner continued for over a year. As stated in Local 335’s statement on the recent vote, casino workers are frustrated and dissatisfied with the constant workforce and amenity reductions at the casino.
Labor Union Voices Concerns Over Eldorado Caesars Merger
Isle Casino workers voted in favor of a strike shortly after UNITE HERE President D. Taylor expressed concerns about Eldorado’s recently announced takeover of rival casino and hospitality operator Caesars.
Taylor said late last month that the labor union “will not stand by idly if the proposed Caesars-Eldorado transaction will lead to significant job losses, worse wages and benefits for our members, and lower state gaming tax receipts in the many communities where members we represent work and live.”
Eldorado and Caesars ended months of speculations in late June, announcing that Eldorado would acquire all outstanding shares of the larger hotel and casino group for a total value of $12.75 a share. The cash and stock deal, which is expected to close in 2020, was valued at a total of $17.3 billion, including $7.2 billion in cash, approximately 77 million Eldorado common shares, and Caesars’ outstanding debt.
The two companies said that they expect their combination to generate cost savings of up to $500 million during the first year after the transaction’s closure.
UNITE HERE expressed concerns that to accomplish that goal, the combined entity could cut jobs and reduce wages and benefits for unionized employees.
The transaction will result in the formation of the largest US casino group by number of assets, with approximately 60 properties in 16 states. The merger is yet to receive regulatory approval, and as mentioned earlier, is expected to close sometime next year.
The combined group will be named Caesars, as it is the better recognized brand of the two. Eldorado’s CEO Tom Reeg will lead the enlarged casino operator. The combined operation will be headquartered in Reno, but will retain significant corporate presence in Las Vegas, where Caesars is currently based.
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