It was six months ago that the owner of the Trump Taj Mahal decided to eliminate the health care program of casino workers. The casino has been in an ongoing battle with the Local 54 of Unite Here in a quest by casino employees receive proper health care. According to a recent survey of employees of the Taj Mahal, many are still without health care coverage.
A survey was conducted by the union of 500 employees which found that 44% of those surveyed were unable to find health insurance on their own. A further 23% must rely on a government subsidy to pay for their health care needs.
In October of 2014, a bankruptcy judge in New Jersey agreed to allow Trump Entertainment Resorts to cancel the health and pension coverage of employees. Workers were given a stipend by the company which could be used to purchase health insurance based on the Affordable Care Act. However, some were still unable to find coverage.
Carl Icahn is the billionaire who is currently working to acquire Trump Entertainment Resorts via bankruptcy court. Icahn has stated that he does not own the casino yet and feels as though the health care fund is unreasonable and is not affordable due to the declining gambling market of Atlantic City.
Icahn stated that while he believes the morale of employees of the Taj is low, he thinks the union has already caused three other hotels in the area to close. He feels as though the union is doing what they can to close the Taj as well. Icahn wondered in a statement, that if they succeed would employees not be even more depressed without jobs?
The facts may not square with his beliefs however as Icahn’s companies have had a hand in not allowing closed casinos to re-open including the Trump Plaza via his Tropicana, and the Atlantic Club in concert with Caesars. The third casino, The Showboat, was closed while still profitable by Caesars to reduce competition for their other properties.
Bob McDevitt, the Union President, stated that the insurance survey found that the men and women working at the Taj Mahal are at a crisis when it comes to health care. The union is currently appealing the court-ordered termination of health and pension benefits of the workers of the Taj. Icahn has stated that if the benefits are reinstated by the appeals court, he will be cutting off financing of the facility and the casino will close down.