Attorney General and Atlantic City Casino Labor Union Request Dismissal of Smoking Ban Lawsuit

Alex Nesterenko
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atlantic city casino labor union request dismissal of smoking ban lawsuit

The fight to outlaw smoking inside Atlantic City casinos has brought together the gaming industry, the state of New Jersey, and a powerful regional labor union in an unlikely coalition.

The group is opposing a complete ban on smoking, claiming that doing so will result in a downturn in business and the eventual loss of employment, income, and tax money.

The local branch of one of the oldest and biggest unions in the United States, together with a grassroots movement of casino employees, are taking legal action against New Jersey in the hopes that the courts would eliminate the state’s smoke-free workplace law’s exception for AC casinos. Targeting the legality of the casino loophole is the organization’s most recent legal approach, which comes after years of disappointment with the legislative process.

The whole gaming industry is keeping a close eye on this case since it has the potential to create new precedents.

An 18-year drama is developing around the smoking prohibition in Atlantic City casinos

The story took a new turn on Monday when the NJ attorney general and UNITE Here Local 54, which represents around 10,000 casino workers in AC, requested that a state Superior Court judge dismiss the complaint.

In court filings, Local 54 claims that if a smoking ban is implemented, as many as one-third of its members might lose their employment and their ability to provide for their families. Governor Phil Murphy and the state health department were represented by Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who asked the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the plaintiff’s allegations lacked substance.

Together with Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects, or C.E.A.S.E., United Auto Workers Region 9, which represents table game dealers at Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and Tropicana Atlantic City, filed a complaint in Mercer County on April 5.

The three-count lawsuit alleges that by exempting their places of employment from the 2006 Smoke-Free Air Act, Murphy and the NJ Department of Health violated the legal rights of Atlantic City casino employees to safety and equal protection. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the Smoke-Free Air Act is a unique statute that violates the Constitution.

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