Angry Trump Taj Mahal Workers picket over Carl Icahn “Saving” the Casino

Not long after a bankruptcy court approved a $100 million plan by billionaire Carl Icahn to save the Trump Taj Mahal, the casino’s workers began picketing outside.

Members of the UNITE HERE Local 54 union are angry that Icahn plans to cut salaries and eliminate health benefits and pensions to save the casino money. He argues that this is necessary to keep the Trump Taj Mahal afloat, however, many of the workers think the plan is completely wrong.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Patty Gallagher, a waitress who works at the casino. “I have to have life-threatening surgery (hysterectomy) scheduled for January moved up to next Wednesday because I wouldn’t be able to pay for it.” Another waiter named Leonard Alprin, also expressed his displeasure for what’s happening with the Taj Mahal. “I’m standing here after 24 years with a stupid sign in my hand begging for a job that pays $35,000 a year,” he said.

Earlier this month, 24 protesters were arrested for refusing to move out of a heavily trafficked Atlantic City street. Icahn tried to win some support in the aftermath by writing a letter urging the workers to turn their anger at local leadership, rather than him. Furthermore, Icahn claims that the casino’s parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, begged him to save the Taj Mahal with a large investment. Icahn, who owns the mortgage to the casino, responded by vowing to dump $100 million into it.

“I can’t understand why the union would not want to help save the Taj,” he said. “I can’t understand why they wouldn’t be working to get the city and state to help the Taj.”

Icahn is referring to Atlantic City’s refusal to re-evaluate the property value of the Taj Mahal. Currently, it’s estimated to be worth $1 billion, which means $50 million in annual property taxes. But Icahn argues that based on Atlantic City’s continued struggles, Trump Taj Mahal is worth more in the neighborhood of $300 million.

The city government has refused to budge on this matter, though. Their main point of contention is that they can’t afford to give out tax breaks at such a dire time. The Atlantic City government has plans to cut $40 million in spending over the next four years to make up for a lack of tax revenue.