City Trump casino workers picket, target investor Icahn
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[October 25, 2014]
By Daniel Kelley
ATLANTIC CITY N.J. (Reuters) - Hundreds of
unionized workers lashed out at Carl Icahn on Friday, picketing the
Trump Taj Mahal Casino where the billionaire activist seeks to terminate
health-care and pension plans.
Members of UNITE HERE Local 54 picketed the Atlantic City casino a
week after bankruptcy court approved a $100 million plan by Icahn,
who holds the mortgage to the property, which hinges on benefit cuts
and tax concessions from city and state governments.
The Taj Mahal was slated to close on Nov. 13 but said it would stay
open for an unspecified period after winning benefit cuts in court.
But state and local governments have balked at offering tax
If the Taj closes, it will be the fifth of 12 casinos in the city to
close amid fierce competition from casinos in neighboring states.
"I think it's horrible," said Patty Gallagher, a waitress who has
worked at the Taj Mahal since it opened and is slated to have a
hysterectomy. "I have to have life-threatening surgery scheduled for
January moved up to next Wednesday because I wouldn't be able to pay
Earlier this month, 24 protesters were arrested for blocking streets
in Jersey Shore town that once had the lucrative gambling monopoly
on the East Coast but now faces stiff competition from casinos in
Icahn responded in an open letter on his blog to unionized workers
asking them to challenge the local's leadership saying Trump
Entertainment Resort, which owns the Taj Mahal and the shuttered
Trump Plaza, begged him to invest in the company at a time when the
board of directors refused.
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"I can't understand why the union would not want to help save the
Taj," Icahn told Reuters on Friday. "I can't understand why they
wouldn't be working to get the city and state to help the Taj."
In his letter to workers, Icahn said the property was likely to
close even with his investment.
Leonard Alprin, a waiter at the Taj Mahal since it opened, said
mismanagement is a big factor in the resort's troubles. He joined
the picket line on Friday after getting off his shift Friday, and
got stuck in one of the casino's elevator on the way.
"I'm standing here after 24 years with a stupid sign in my hand
begging for a job that pays $35,000 per year," Alprin said.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Alan Crosby)
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