Future owner of the Trump Taj Mahal is battling workers who want a judge to restore benefits to employees, but Carl Icahn says these cuts in benefits are “an essential sacrifice.” As Atlantic city casinos fall on hard times, with 4 closing already and Taj Mahal nearly the fifth to close, a federal judge ruled on reductions to workers’ benefit package that seem draconian to some.
“He’s taken our middle-class jobs and made us into the working poor, ” said Valeria McMorris, who has been a cocktail waitress at the Taj for 25 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Members of Local 54 UNITE-HERE say that the judge unfairly removed its authority to enforce the National Labor Relations Act. Icahn says the union is cheating the workers and the healthcare benefits it provides are mainly to line its own pocket.
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Icahn is bailing the Taj Mahal out to the tune of $20 million and has said the cuts to the healthcare and pension fund were essential for keeping the casino open. Trump Entertainment has proposed to cover Taj Mahal workers under the Affordable Care Act, according to courierpostonline. It is also eliminating paid meal breaks, is outsourcing more positions and is demanding an increase in room cleaning quotas. “The truth is, those work rules are from a bygone era when Atlantic City was booming, ” Icahn wrote in a statement, as reported by courierpostonline, “Today, with a struggling company in a rapidly declining industry, those work rules cannot be sustained.”
The burning question is, that if Icahn thinks the casino industry is in rapid and certain decline enough to justify the steep cuts, why is he investing in the first place?