Workers shouldn’t have to gamble on their future

NPR reports today on an interesting employment strategy set to be used at Revel, a new Atlantic City casino that’s set to open soon. Revel will only allow its “front-line” employees – those working jobs ranging from bellhops to front desk attendants to blackjack dealers - to work for a period of four to six years. If the workers want to keep their job, they will have to reapply.

Revel’s management says this innovative strategy is meant to promote better service, though they haven’t offered any real evidence to back up their claim. On the other hand, it seems the policy will allow the company to get away with more dubious practices. For example, the company could weed out older workers using the pretense of poor service. It also can keep wages permanently low by throwing experienced employees into an endless cycle of entry-level wages. Alternatively, a manager who arbitrarily decides she does not like some of her employees for reasons unrelated to work performance can just wait it out for a few years and kick them to the curb.

In addition to providing avenues for discriminatory practices, this policy creates a great degree of uncertainty for the workers. As Jeff Payne, a longtime Atlantic City casino employee, told NPR, “How can you buy a car if you don’t know you’re going to have a job?” In short, it hinders the women and men looking for work at the casino from pursuing a career and contributing to the economic viability of their hometowns.

Fortunately, Atlantic City’s workforce doesn’t just have to accept such a draconian employment policy. By working together as a union, something many casino employees in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas have successfully done, these workers gain the right to negotiate over the terms and conditions of their employment. Specifically, an employer must bargain with employees over the wages, hours, and working conditions-including policies like the one proposed by Revel.

The ability to help shape the conditions under which one works is what makes collective bargaining a tool for empowerment. Workers don’t have to resign themselves to a low-road business model with bottom-of-the-barrel pay and constant uncertainty. They can build a workplace that rewards service in a manner that is just and equitable.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 12:54 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Workers shouldn’t have to gamble on their future”

  1. Peter says:

    That seems like a pretty weird hiring law. I’m curious if it happens other places in the county.

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