Late Wednesday evening, the Local 54 union of UNITE HERE moved forward with protest plans and created a traffic sit-in in front of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. The protest is the continuation of efforts by casino workers to receive benefits taken away by the incoming owner, Carl Icahn.
Around 70 people were arrested after blocking traffic at the intersection of Virginia and Pacific avenues in front of the casino. Local employees as well as individuals associated with casinos in other states were on hand to take part in the protest for employee benefits. There were actually over 1,000 people on-site during the protest including members of the Local 54 and their allies.
Shirts and signs were created with the logo of UNITE HERE Philadelphia as well as the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Hotel Trade Council of New York. Close to fifty police officers were on the scene and eventually began to make arrests after individuals were asked twice to move from the area. Any individual arrested was charged with obstructing highways and other public passages as well as refusal to obey a reasonable request or order to move.
After the arrests, protestors promised to be back and to continue the fight against Icahn. Speaking on behalf of the protestors during the sit-in, Charles Wowkanech, the President of the State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations stated:
“We’re here today because the fight is right here. We’ve got a billionaire who’s sitting over in New York who took [sic] away our health care away, who took our pensions away and took our lunch break away. And you know what? When we’re done, we’re going to send him away.”