Trump Taj Mahal Workers Strike

Atlantic City strike rumors were rampant this week, as Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union warned that at least one major casino would see a strike on July 1. And it’s now confirmed that Trump Taj Mahal workers are the first to strike in Atlantic City.

Almost 1,000 workers went on strike at 6:00am ET, Friday morning, with Local 54 and Taj Mahal management failing to reach an agreement.

It makes sense that the Trump Taj Mahal has been hit with a strike because workers are angry at billionaire owner Carl Icahn. The casino’s financier slashed health care and pensions last year in controversial moves.

Cooks, bellmen, housekeepers, and servers will not be coming to work until an agreement is reached.

Despite the loss of workers, Trump Taj Mahal general manager Alan Rivin says that the casino will stay open.

Tony Rodio, president and CEO of Icahn Enterprises, took aim at the union after the strike.

“The employees of the Taj bargaining committee seem hell-bent on trying to close this property and killing the jobs and livelihood of the other Taj employees, including their own union members,” said Rodio.

He added that management presented an offer that would have restored some of the benefits lost during the bankruptcy plan, including contribution to health care costs. But the offer was not enough to satisfy the workers.

CNN Money reports that strikes were planned at four other Atlantic City casinos, but they were averted after labor agreements were reached on Thursday.

Interestingly enough, one of these casinos is the Tropicana, which is also owned by Icahn. The other three – Bally’s, Caesars, and Harrah’s – are owned by Caesars Entertainment, which has been under bankruptcy court protection for 18 months.

Icahn purchased the Tropicana and Trump Taj Mahal out of bankruptcy court. Despite Donald Trump’s name being on the casino, he has nothing to do with the ownership/management team.

The Atlantic City gambling industry has been in a decline ever since 2007, and bottomed out over the last couple of years as four casinos closed. The market seems stabilized now since seven out of eight casinos made a profit last year. Trump Taj Mahal was one of these casinos, netting a $3.1 million profit.

But a successful 2015 won’t erase fears that Atlantic City is still in trouble, as out-of-state casino competition continues threatening the East Coast gambling mecca. The push for northern New Jersey casinos provides another threat for Atlantic City to worry about.

Workers have felt the brunt of this downfall, with the union reporting that casino workers average $11.74 an hour. Veteran workers have only seen their salaries increase 80 cents over the last 12 years, and many workers are relying on government subsidies to make ends meet.