Trump Taj Mahal Casino Workers Strike During July 4 Weekend

  • Housekeepers, bartenders, cooks seeking health-care benefits
  • Taj Mahal is controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn

About a thousand workers at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, went on strike Friday morning ahead of the busy July 4 weekend, another blow to the resort city’s long-struggling tourism business.

Workers including housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and cocktail servers are seeking higher wages and health-care benefits lost when Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. declared bankruptcy in 2014. The Taj Mahal is controlled by investor Carl Icahn. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, no longer has a management role.

Talks with the Taj Mahal failed to reach an agreement that the negotiating committee could recommend, Unite Here, the union representing casino workers, said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

Workers rejected a “good faith attempt to reach an agreement” that included restoring contributions toward employee health care, the casino said in an e-mailed statement. The Taj Mahal will stay open with “minimal impact on our operations,” Alan Rivin, the casino’s general manager, said.

Atlantic City, once the second-largest casino market in the U.S. after Las Vegas, has struggled in recent years as neighbors expanded their gambling offerings. Casino revenue in the city totaled $2.4 billion last year, half the take from ten years ago.

Unite Here reached a contract agreement Thursday with three resorts owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp., the largest operator in the city, and with the Tropicana, another casino Icahn controls. That prevented a strike at those properties, according to the union.

Since the bankruptcy, the Taj Mahal has been owned by Icahn Enterprises LP, a publicly traded investment vehicle controlled by the New York-based billionaire. Icahn Enterprises owns 69 percent of another publicly-traded company, Tropicana Entertainment Inc., which owns its namesake resort in the city and manages both casinos.

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