ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Casino employees are protesting after losing their jobs due to coronavirus and receiving a limited amount of healthcare benefits.
They put together a caravan of more than 600 cars as a form of protest and drove to the casinos where they used to work before the pandemic.
“We need the company to extend our benefits for July, August, and September in order to cover all the way to December,” said Mineli Polanco, a Borgata employee.
They’ve been out of work since mid-March, and their union only covers their health insurance until June 30.
“Our health fund covered the months of April, May, and June by doing so we depleted our reserves,” said Donna Decaprio, the secretary and treasurer of Local 54.
Many employees are worried, and they want the companies they work for to help them.
“Once we get back to work it will take three months to get our benefits if we work 32 hours a week, otherwise there’s no benefits,” said Mario Guzman, a Borgota employee.
The union says that the COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented event, and has asked the casino owners to help them out.
“We need them to have coverage for July to the end of the year because we know not everyone is going to go back to work immediately and those who do they may work reduced hours,” Decaprio said.
The union is also hoping the casinos establish safety protocols to keep employees safe when they reopen.
We demand extended benefits, healthcare benefits, and a safe reopening. That's all we need, that’s all we want,” Mayra Gonzalez, a casino employee, said.
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