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Policy: Labor

Mass jobless filing for laid-off casino workers

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Photo - This photo taken on June 27, 2014, shows the exterior of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City N.J. The Showboat's owner, Caesars Entertainment, said on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014,  that the casino will definitely close on Sunday, Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
This photo taken on June 27, 2014, shows the exterior of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City N.J. The Showboat's owner, Caesars Entertainment, said on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, that the casino will definitely close on Sunday, Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
News,Business,Labor

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — One of the region's largest mass-filings for unemployment and other benefits will begin next week for newly laid-off Atlantic City casino workers in an outreach effort so large it had to book part of the city's convention center.

The Showboat and Revel are shutting down this weekend, putting more than 5,000 workers out of work. Trump Plaza will add 1,100 more when it closes Sept. 16.

More than 100 work stations will be set up to help process workers' claims with the state Department of Labor and other agencies and social service organizations.

The main casino workers' union, Local 54 of Unite-HERE, is starting a resource center next week to help ex-casino workers file for unemployment, register for health insurance, and get information on food stamps and other assistance.

"Since we first heard news that these casinos were planning to close, we have worked relentlessly to keep these properties open," union president Bob McDevitt said. "We are currently in the process of making plans to continue to advocate for these workers. Right now, we are focused on making sure that the basic needs of all of the affected workers are met."

Called "AC Unites Here," the center will run from 9 a.m. to-5 p.m. from Sept. 3 through Sept. 10 at the convention center, then will move to an as-yet undetermined location following the Trump Plaza shutdown.

Including the January closing of the Atlantic Club, more than 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers will have lost their jobs this year, representing a quarter of the city's casino workforce.

The Press of Atlantic City reported Thursday that Atlantic County led the nation in job losses in July, with 3,600 fewer jobs than a year ago, placing it last among 372 metropolitan areas in terms of job growth or losses. Those figures include the loss of the Atlantic Club's 1,600 jobs, but do not take into account the more than 6,000 workers who will be laid off over the next two weeks.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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