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Casino Workers Union Approve Strike Against The Taj Mahal Casino

Trump Taj MahalThe Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and thousands of casino employees were expected to lose their jobs. The casino industry in Atlantic City declined significantly in 2014 and put four casinos out of business and make it extremely difficult for unemployed casino workers to find a job.

Billionaire Carl Icahn decided to take over the troubled Taj Mahal casino back in 2014 and put forth a number of changes to cut down the overhead costs and help the casino recover financially. Some of those changes included cutting down pension and health insurance coverage of the employees at the Taj Mahal, changes which did not go down well with the casino employees.

The Local 54 union in Atlantic City has been fighting for these benefits to be restored to casino workers and has aggressively campaigned against Icahn’s proposals which they find unfair. A case was filed at the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a verdict is yet to be released. Last week nearly 80% of the one thousand members of Local 54 decided that it was okay to call a strike on the Taj Mahal if the court decided to rule in favor of Icahn.

The last major strike called by the casino union in Atlantic City was in 2004 when over ten thousand members of Local 54 went on a strike for 34 days and it affected up to 7 casinos in Atlantic City. The current union members protesting against the Taj Mahal include employees who are bellmen, bartenders, cooks and housekeepers.

Carl Icahn has made his feelings clear by stating that if the court should rule in favor of the union, then he will not think twice about withdrawing his financial support from the Taj Mahal casino and will shut the casino down. Icahn believes that casino employees must understand the financial situation the casino is in and be willing to compromise on some of their benefits in order to help revive financial situation of the casino.

Local 54 does not agree with Icahn’s views. In a statement, Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 said

Carl Icahn may have thought that workers in Atlantic City would turn a blind eye to his abusing the employees at the Taj. He may have thought that Taj employees would have just been happy to have a job, but this vote shows that the men and women at the Taj are ready to fight to defend the kind of jobs that were promised when gaming was legalized- jobs with good pay and good benefits, in a workplace where everyone is treated fairly.