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No Smooth Sailing for Icahn’s Taj Mahal Deal as Casino Workers File Lawsuit

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union

A dispute over the fate of the bankrupt Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City intensified Tuesday as the main casino workers’ union filed 27 charges of unfair labor practices against the owner, a report said.

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union told the National Labor Relations Board that Trump Entertainment Resorts threatened workers and unilaterally changed work schedules and rules that cost employees money during a bitter ongoing labor dispute and disrupted their lives, AP said.

“These charges allege serious violations of federal labor law and demonstrate a disregard for the rule of law and basic fairness at the Taj Mahal, ” union president Bob McDevitt said, according to the report. “They allege that managers threatened and discriminated against workers for union activity.”

The Trump Taj Mahal narrowly escaped closing in December when billionaire investor Carl Icahn put up $20 million to keep it afloat, the report said.

Icahn said last week the work rules are outdated and unaffordable in the current Atlantic City market, where four of the 12 casinos shut down last year. He is acquiring Trump Entertainment by swapping $286 million in debt for ownership of it, AP said.

The first installment of Icahn’s new funding, expected to reach the casino on Thursday, “will provide us with the necessary funding for the operations of Trump Taj Mahal through 2015 and should put to rest any concerns about our future, ” Trump Entertainment CEO Bob Griffin said, according to the report.

A bankruptcy court judge in October allowed the company to end health insurance and pension coverage for its workers, a move the union is appealing. Icahn, who wants to shift Taj Mahal workers to insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, has threatened to close the casino if the union wins its appeal, AP said.

 

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