Atlantic City workers at Icahn-operated casino go on strike

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2016 1:04 PM

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, went on strike early Friday morning after management and the workers' union failed to reach agreement on wages and health benefits.

About 1,000 cooks, housekeepers, bellmen and servers walked off the job at 6 a.m. local time. Despite its name, the casino is no longer operated by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Unite-Here Local 54, the union representing thousands of Atlantic City casino workers, reached a tentative settlement on Thursday with Tropicana, which is owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn as is the Trump Taj Mahal. The union also reached a settlement with Caesars Entertainment, which owns Atlantic City's Caesars, Harrah's and Bally's.

Negotiations with the Taj Mahal, however, failed to meet a July 1 strike deadline.

Neither Icahn nor his representatives were immediately available for comment.

According to a union statement, many workers at the Taj Mahal have seen an hourly raise of only 80 cents in the last 12 years. Over the same period, the cost of living in Atlantic City has risen by more than 25 percent. Taj Mahal workers earn an average of less than $12 per hour.

Bob McDevitt, Unite-Here Local 54 president, held a conference call with reporters ahead of the strike, saying casino workers throughout Atlantic City gave up a package of vacation, holiday pay and overtime rules in 2011 when casinos were struggling financially.

According to McDevitt, those givebacks cost an average of $1,300 to $1,500 per employee.

"They want that stuff back," he said.

(Additional reporting by Hilary Russ and Michael Flaherty in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)