“Atlantic City is resilient.”
– Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian speaking to The New York Times
Michele Jackson, born and raised in Atlantic City, has worked in seven different casinos since entering the industry at age 18. Currently working in housekeeping at the Golden Nugget, she is painfully aware of the change her city is going through.
“It’s like whatever you are told to do you are going to do because you need to keep that job. You need to feed your family; you need to pay your bills, your rent, your mortgage, your car loans. Whatever it is.
It’s to the point where even if both spouses have two incomes, it’s still hard. Because everything instead of deflating, is inflating. You got to pay more for this, food, this, gas. It’s hard. And I’m a single mother with a ten year old. So, it’s hard.”
Michelle isn’t alone in the struggle. In 2014 four casinos shut their doors. In one full sweep 8,000 jobs were lost, all within the same location. Unemployment rates devastating the same families still trying to recover from the damage inflicted on their homes from Hurricane Sandy.
Many residents are asking themselves the same question as Local 54 Union member Lucille Ace, “With all these casinos closing, Sandy hit us. What is next?”
No one, not the union, not the casino owners, nor the local and state representatives can answer this pressing question. Many residents’ mindset remains the same as Ace’s.
“We are ready for whatever comes our way. We’re ready. We are never going to stop fighting.”