Union Members Disrupt Assembly Committee Meeting
In a bold move to express their frustration, workers from Atlantic City’s casinos took matters into their own hands, lips, and lungs. Members of the United Auto Workers union disrupted a meeting of a state Assembly committee, which was scheduled to vote on a bill to ban smoking in the casinos. The workers lit cigarettes and blew smoke towards legislators, demanding their voices be heard.
Champion of Smoking Ban Gives Up
The vote on the smoking ban was canceled when one of the main supporters of the workers who want smoking banned in the casinos gave up on the bill. Instead, they embraced some measures proposed by the casino industry, including enclosed smoking rooms. This decision sparked anger among employees, leading to their unconventional protest.
Union Members Smoke in State House Annex
Seven members of the United Auto Workers union, representing dealers at three casinos in Atlantic City, began smoking inside the State House Annex. The act was a direct challenge to the lawmakers who permit smoking in the casinos while prohibiting it in other workplaces. The workers were escorted from the hearing room by State Police but were released without charges.
Workers Demand a Vote on Original Smoking Ban Bill
Angry workers are urging the state’s top Democratic leadership to force a vote on the original smoking ban bill. However, the likelihood of such a vote remains uncertain. State Senator Vince Polistina, a Republican from the Atlantic City area, expressed disappointment in the lack of support for the bill and plans to introduce a new measure next year. This new bill would incorporate proposals favored by the casino industry while still aiming to protect workers and customers from secondhand smoke.
The Debate over Smoking Rooms
The proposal for enclosed smoking rooms has been met with opposition from the United Auto Workers union, who considers the idea “preposterous.” The casino industry argues that a smoking ban would negatively impact Atlantic City’s economy and lead to job losses. However, workers dispute this claim, citing research that shows business improved at casinos after smoking bans were implemented.
Union Members Make Their Point
While the disruptive protest may not change lawmakers’ minds, union members believe their actions highlighted the unfairness of allowing smoking in casinos while prohibiting it in other workplaces. The debate over a smoking ban in Atlantic City’s casinos continues, with both sides advocating for their respective positions.