People looking to gamble at the Trump Taj Mahal on Sunday were met with taunts from members of Local 54 of the UNITE HERE union as they picketed for the third day of the strike against the Atlantic City casino once owned by Donald Trump.
Large numbers of people crossed strike lines on Sunday who were met with picketer’s taunts that warned of dead mice and roaches being found in the kitchen of the Taj Mahal now owned by Trump’s friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn, who took over the business through a bankruptcy restructuring plan in March 2015. Staff including housekeepers, servers, cooks, and bellmen at the Taj Mahal, were among those who walked off the job. Not part of the union that is striking is the casino’s dealers and security. The Tropicana, which Icahn also owns, reached an agreement with the union last Thursday.
While the casino floor of the Taj Mahal was busy on Sunday, its numbers were about half that of those next door playing at Resorts which is considerably smaller but whose workers are not striking. One of the union’s organizing directors, Benjamin Albert, said, “Hundreds of dead mice were found in the kitchen of this building!” and, “If you like mice and roaches, stay at the Taj Mahal! If you like casinos that care about their workers, stay anywhere else,” according to the Associated Press. When questioned by a reporter about the claims, Albert told the press the information used by the union was derived from inspection reports from the Atlantic City Health Department from March through August of last year where 282 instances of rodent or mice feces were found throughout the casino.
People who had made reservations to stay at the property prior to any news of a possible strike waited in line at the hotel desk to check in on Sunday afternoon, while throughout the casino floor slot machines were being played and a good percentage of the table games were in use. Meanwhile, outside the taunts from picketers continued.
Union spokesman Ben Begleiter told reporters that the strikers were receiving support from people on the Boardwalk and that the majority of the guests of the hotel had made their reservations long before the strike. He said that as the days progress and news of the strike travels, the numbers of customers at the Taj Mahal will decrease, according to the news outlet. According to the union, no further contract talks have been scheduled.
About 1,000 unionized workers want back benefits, including pension and health insurance, they lost that were part of the cost savings imposed by a federal bankruptcy judge in 2014. The union challenged the earlier ruling attempting to restore the benefits, but the Supreme Court let stand previous rulings by lower courts in favor of the former Trump Entertainment Resorts.