Workers Protest Trump Taj Mahal Closure
On Wednesday night, unionized members of the Trump Taj Mahal workforce began protesting the closure of the casino, the cancellation of their benefits and the actions of Carl Icahn, the man that owns the casinos $286 million debt.
The announcement that the casino would be closing was made on Monday and it follows a lengthy bankruptcy court hearing that has seen the cancellation of union contracts and the denial of tax breaks and bailouts that were, according to Icahn, essential to keep the casino open.
Members of the Unite HERE Local 54 union took walked the entire length of the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, to protest about the actions that have occurred during the bankruptcy hearings, as well as those of Carl Icahn, who received a majority of the abuse.
As the casinos sole debt holder, the union feels that Icahn was in a prime position to keep the casino open and, his unwillingness to compromise, was harming them. They took to social media site Twitter to protest with the #Don’tCahnMe hashtag and braced the frigid temperatures of the Atlantic City night wearing stickers with the slogan “I will not be Cahned”.
Shouting “shame on you!” the protestors marched past the shuttered Trump Plaza, up to the Tropicana, the other Atlantic City casino Icahn owns. “We’re out here tonight to demand the question of Mr. Icahn: are you going to be a hero or are you going to be the villain?” asked Bob McDevitt, the president of the union. “It’s totally within his power to keep the Taj Mahal open with the same benefits as other workers in Atlantic City.”
Earlier in the month, during the casinos bankruptcy hearings, a Federal judge gave the Taj leave to terminate its contract with the union, which allowed the casino to stop paying money into the union health fund. A decision that the Unite HERE union has since appealed.
On the same day as the protest the casinos current owners, Trump Entertainment Resorts, posted notices warning any customers that the casino would be closing on December the 12th. But, Trump Entertainment has said that the casino could avoid having to close down if the union were to drop its appeal of the court decision ending the union’s healthcare contract. Something the union is refusing to do.
The Taj worker’s protest was joined by other workers who joined the protest. One marcher, Dan Cunningham , a bartender at Caesars, said he was anther who feared for his job if the “domino effect keeps going”.
“Once Icahn institutes [the cuts], the rest of the casinos will have a ‘me too’ policy,” said Taj cook Chuck Baker, who has been an employee of the casino since 1990. “Therefore, whatever you get, I’ll get. You’re not paying into health care, well, neither am I. You’re not paying into pension or severance, I won’t either. If other casinos take the lead of the Taj and cancels their own union contracts, Atlantic City local Baker believes, “the whole economy around South Jersey is gone.”
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