Union Representing AC Casino Dealers Backs Legislation to End Indoor Smoking
United Auto Workers: “No Worker In The State Of NJ Should Be Forced To Breathe Cancer Causing Chemicals”
“The UAW Will Be Pushing Elected Officials in Trenton to Hold Hearings on These Bills”
April 28, 2022
Atlantic City, NJ— The union representing Atlantic City casino dealers today announced its strong support for eliminating the casino smoking loophole that threatens the health of their members and other casinos employees due to secondhand smoke exposure. The United Auto Workers (UAW) released a letter today urging legislators to hold hearings on the bipartisan bills, S264 and A2151, which have 43 co-sponsors.
“Our members include dealers who sit inches away from patrons who blow smoke directly into their face for eight hours a day, every single day,” said UAW. “It is simply unacceptable knowing what we know about the dangers of secondhand smoke. It is unacceptable knowing that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful to someone’s health. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals of which hundreds are toxic and at least 70 can cause cancer. No worker in the state of NJ should be forced to breathe cancer causing chemicals every single day.”
The union cast doubt on casino industry claims and their refusal to address the health concerns of their workers.
“We have heard the financial scare tactics laid out by the casinos, but nothing is more frightening than the numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with regard to secondhand smoke,” said UAW. “We know that the casinos will thrive without indoor smoke causing a slow death to the employees. We know this because we have seen casinos in states across the country thrive while implementing accommodations to protect their workers.
UAW’s announcement comes as recent coverage in New Jersey shows casino workers’ “growing political muscle” as legislation garners bipartisan support in Trenton. Governor Phil Murphy has repeatedly said he would sign the bill.
“The UAW will be pushing elected officials in Trenton to hold hearings on these bills, and we are certain they will pass. We will not stand idly by and watch our members choose between their health and their job. We all have a right to breathe clean air at our workplaces,” UAW said.
UAW represents more than 1,200 workers in Atlantic City casinos, including dealers at Caesars, Bally’s and Tropicana.
Casinos are the only workplaces in New Jersey where the state allows indoor smoking, forcing casino frontline workers to choose between their health and a paycheck. Companion bills introduced in the state legislature have received an unusually high number of cosponsors with 28 cosponsors in the Assembly and 15 in the Senate – including a majority of members of both the Senate and Assembly Health Committees. Governor Murphy has repeatedly said he’d sign this legislation.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.