Local 54 Members Call Local 54 Leadership’s “Disgraceful” Court Filing a “Betrayal of Workers”

“One of the Fundamental Purposes of a Union is to Advocate for the Health and Safety of Workers.”

April 29, 2024
Contact: ceasesmokingnj@gmail.com

Atlantic City, NJ – In response to Local 54 yesterday filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit seeking to protect casino workers’ health from toxic indoor smoking – in which they wrote “there is no right to a healthful environment…there is no constitutional right to be free from secondhand smoke” – Local 54 and CEASE members Lisa Mathias and Chris Ireland, a beverage server and bartender at Atlantic City casinos, released the following statement: 

“We’re appalled to witness our union fight against our health and safety at our jobs. Their court filing is disgraceful and a betrayal of workers. 

“Our so-called leadership’s arguments prioritize misplaced economic concerns over the fundamental right to a safe workplace. We’ve never been polled on the issue, but most people we talk to about this – nonsmoking employees on the casino gaming floors – overwhelmingly support ending indoor smoking. Why are they doing the bidding of the casino executives by fighting against this commonsense effort to finally end indoor smoking? We’re all affected by it in the casinos. One of the fundamental purposes of a union is to advocate for the health and safety of workers. It’s time for Local 54 leadership to start doing just that. We should be standing in solidarity with our fellow workers in the fight for a smokefree workplace, not serving as a useful tool for the casinos.”

The recent filing suggests that a smoke-free environment is not a constitutional right, despite workers across New Jersey having enjoyed that very right for almost two decades. This exception has persisted despite the efforts of thousands of workers who contribute billions to the casinos in Atlantic City. The filing states:

“While the New Jersey courts have never ruled on whether there is a constitutional right to a smoke-free environment, generally speaking, there is no right to a healthful environment, and other courts that have considered the issue before this Court have found that there is no constitutional right to be free from secondhand smoke.”

UAW and Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) filed a lawsuit earlier this month that seeks to overturn New Jersey’s indoor smoking law, which prohibits it in virtually every workplace except casinos. Many Local 54 members are CEASE members as well, joining in the ongoing fight to close the casino smoking loophole.




Casino Employees Against Smoking (Harmful) Effects (CEASE) is a group of thousands of casino dealers and other frontline gaming workers that formed after indoor smoking returned on July 4, 2021 in Atlantic City, NJ and has expanded to states around the country. CEASE is fighting to permanently remove smoking from our workplaces. For more information, visit ceasesmoking.org.