The Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union had put pressure on five casinos in Atlantic City to provide better benefits to its union members and had been successful with reaching mutual agreement with four out of the five casinos. The Trump Taj Mahal casino which is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn had been unable to reach an agreement with the Local 54 union who were demanding better healthcare benefits and amenities.
Local 54 went on a strike starting on July 1 and have been holding protests outside the Trump Taj Mahal casino around the clock for five days a week. Union members have also organized protests outside Icahn’s office but so far their efforts have not been fruitful as Icahn has not been willing to make any additional changes to what he had earlier proposed. Local 54 has been given an ultimatum by Icahn to accept the healthcare plan and benefits put before them before 5 pm, July 18, failing to do so will see the deal no longer be valid.
The round the clock protests by close to 1,000 Local 54 union members who work at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort has put a lot of pressure and stress on the union members who have had to protest in the heat and one night had to brave the rain as well. Union members work in four hour shifts and many find the 8 pm to midnight shift the most tiring. The casino continues to remain open in the midst of the strike and Union members are protesting around the clock in order to convince patrons not to visit the casino.
A number of union members also work a second job due to the fact that they do not earn enough at the Trump Taj Mahal and find it physically and emotionally draining to protest outside the casino and then go work their second job.
In a statement, Bob McDevitt, Union President said “In the last month, I don’t think that anyone has had more than two days off. We went from heavy negotiations to organizing, then right into a strike. Everyone is working well beyond their normal capacity. Walking the picket line can be very taxing, no matter the time of day, in this weather. It’s brutal with the heat. They are tired and hot, but they understand what we are fighting for.”
Icahn Enterprises and Local 54 have not held any discussions during the last couple of weeks and it appears unlikely that the Union will change its mind before the July 18 deadline as McDevitt believes that the Trump Taj Mahal has made a poor proposal when compared to what Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s, Tropicana and Harrah’s Resort had provided the Local 54 Union.