The Unite Here Local 54 is a union in Atlantic City that represents employees of local casinos. Since 1996, Bob McDevitt has served as the union president, doing everything he could to help members receive fair pay and benefits. This week, we learned that McDevitt is stepping down from the position as of May 1 and will be succeeded by Donna DeCaprio.
Atlantic City’s Unite Here Local 54 President Bob McDevitt Steps Down
- McDevitt became the union president in 1996.
- Donna DeCaprio, the union financial secretary-treasurer, will take over.
- The former president was involved in several battles for employees, including multiple strikes.
A Long-Time Advocate for the Union
McDevitt served as union president for over two decades and is the only individual to do so for an extended period of time. He leaves after receiving 70% of the vote during his final electoral year. McDevitt stated in a letter to the union members that it had been an honor to serve as president and is grateful for the trust and confidence that everyone placed in him over the years.
The former president has been involved in major battles, including the long strike in 2016 when Carl Icahn owned the Trump Taj Mahal Casino. The strike took 102 days, and both men were blamed for the loss of 2,000 jobs from the Atlantic City gambling industry.
McDevitt felt vindicated in his actions when the casino was revitalized as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. However, he was also involved in an attempt to change the local government, and the effort did not go over well. In 2020, the former president and Morris Bailey, the owner of Resorts, along with New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak, decided to try and change the form of government.
The plan was met with backlash, and the Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. and City Council fought back, and it started a political campaign war. Both sides said that the other was manipulating the residents of the city.
Just this past year, the union was involved in another strike issue, this time surrounding a request for wage increases and benefits. Contract negotiations had stalled between several NJ casinos and the union and almost resulted in a full-blown strike during the busy Fourth of July weekend.
Looking Ahead with the New President
Donna DeCaprio, the union financial secretary-treasurer, will move in as the new president, and she already has a big job on her hands. The union is currently involved in a battle over smoking within Atlantic City casinos. The union and operators feel that if a ban is approved, it would have a negative effect on the industry. Both groups are fighting to try and see the potential ban stopped in its tracks.
The belief is that with smoking non-existent, player numbers will dwindle. This would result in job losses in order to adjust to traffic and revenues. Dealers that are not connected to the union as well as proponents of the change, feel that the health of the players and employees is more important than the bottom line of the operators.
DeCaprio commented on her new role by stating that she has a great sense of pride and accomplishment as she moves into her new role. She feels the union has already been able to accomplish great things, including fair wages and benefits for the members.
It will be interesting to see how DeCaprio takes on the new role and if she takes a different approach than her predecessor on such topics as contract negotiations or employment issues. It has been many years since the Atlantic City has seen a new union president, so all eyes will certainly be on DeCaprio as she takes on the role in a few months.
Having started in 2005 as an online writer, Sadonna has focused on the online gambling industry, with a keen knowledge of various subjects. Sadonna has followed the growing US-based gambling industry for decades, covering all the legal changes in the nation as well as information on land-based and online casinos. She enjoys updating fellow gamblers on new games, casino bonuses, and additional information for premium gaming services. In her spare time, Sadonna loves spending time with her family and singing on Smule. Sadonna hopes to continue working in the online gambling industry and building quality articles for players to learn more about the US market.