Press Advisory: Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Prieto to Announce Support for Extending Unemployment Benefits to Striking Trump Taj Mahal Workers

NJ AFL-CIO President Wowkanech, Striking Taj Mahal Workers Slam Billionaire Carl Icahn for Refusing to Negotiate Fair Contract at Trump Taj Mahal

Contact: Diana Hussein 313-460-3119 [email protected]
Morgan Rubin, 646-517-1813, [email protected]

WHAT:  NJ Legislative Leaders, and over 100 striking workers will hold a press conference Monday to announce support for a bill to extend unemployment to striking worker

WHO: Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, NJ AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech, and other elected officials will be joined by 100+ striking Trump Taj Mahal workers.

WHEN: Monday August, 1 2016 at 12:30 PM

WHERE: The steps of the NJ Statehouse, 125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608

WHY: One thousand cooks, housekeepers, bellmen, bartenders, cocktail servers, and other service workers from the Trump Taj Mahal have been on strike since July 1. The strike at the Trump Taj Mahal- a casino owned by billionaire Carl Icahn – follows on the heels of agreements set in place with the Tropicana and Caesars Entertainment, which owns Atlantic City’s Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s.

The legislation would allow striking workers to receive unemployment benefits beginning after 30 days on strike, ensuring that families aren’t penalized for standing up for their rights on the job.

BACKGROUND: Many workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, including those with years on the job, have seen only $.80 in total raises over the last twelve years. The cost of living in Atlantic City has risen over 25 percent in the same time period. Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn an average of less than $12/ hour.

As the sole debtholder between 2010 and 2014, Icahn extracted $350 million from the property, driving it into bankruptcy and then swooping in to take control. He used the bankruptcy proceeding to strip Taj Mahal workers of health benefits and retirement security. Overall, he cut worker compensation in wages and benefits by 35%.

Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on taxpayer subsidized health insurance. A third have no health insurance at all, putting them at risk of bankruptcy in the event of an illness and forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the Emergency Room. Some of the workers rely on other public assistance programs, like food stamps.

PRESS RELEASE: Trump Taj Mahal Strikers Detail Effects of Trump and Icahn-omics to DNC Labor Caucus

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ben Begleiter, UNITE HERE Local 54, [email protected], 203-668-6676

Trump Taj Mahal Strikers Detail Effects of Trump and Icahn-omics to DNC Labor Caucus

dncpic(Philadelphia, PA, NJ) – Over a dozen striking workers from the Trump Taj Mahal traveled to Philadelphia to address the DNC’s labor caucus to condemn Donald Trump ally and corporate raider, Carl Icahn.

“I’m here today, because Carl Icahn, the man Donald Trump thinks should be running the US economy has taken middle class jobs at the Trump Taj Mahal and turned them into poverty jobs. This isn’t right. It isn’t right that a billionaire can come in and strip of us what we’ve worked for, sacrificed for. We struck because we will not let billionaires like Carl Icahn or his friend Donald Trump dictate to us,” said Charles Baker, a 26-year cook at the Trump Taj Mahal.

Since July 1, about 1,000 cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail servers and other service workers have been on strike at the Trump Taj Mahal to reenter the middle-class after Icahn used the bankruptcy court to strip 1,000 workers of pay and benefits worth more than 1/3 of their total compensation. Many workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, including those with years on the job, have seen only $.80 per hour in total raises over the last twelve years. The cost of living in Atlantic City has risen over 25 percent in the same time period. Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn an average of less than $12/ hour.

“When you have an employer, like Trump, running for President – there is no truer test of his character than how he treats his own employees. In Atlantic City, when his businesses went bankrupt, workers were left holding the bag—an empty bag. Trump left town with a suitcase full of money,” said Maria Elena Durazo, Vice Chair of Democratic National Committee and Chair of the DNC Labor Council. Durazo also serves as General Vice President of UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality and food service workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Durazo continued, “Today striking Trump Taj Mahal workers are taking a stand to save middle-class jobs. The Democratic Party stands with workers in Atlantic City and all workers striving for a better life for themselves and their families. We cannot allow Trump do to America what he’s done to Atlantic City.”

Both Donald Trump and Carl Icahn have taken millions from the Trump Taj Mahal for themselves while workers have been left holding the bag. As the sole debtholder between 2010 and 2014, Icahn extracted $350 million from the property, driving it into bankruptcy and then swooping in to take control. He used the bankruptcy proceeding to strip Taj Mahal workers of their retirement security and even basic benefits like healthcare. Overall, he cut total average worker compensation by 35%.

“These brave workers have been on strike since July 1 after a 20 month struggle with Donald Trump’s friend and allly and the guy he thinks should be in charge of the economy. We’ll do everything we can to support their struggle,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on taxpayer subsidized health insurance. A third have no health insurance at all, putting them at risk of bankruptcy in the event of an illness and forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the Emergency Room. Some of the workers rely on other public assistance programs, like food stamps.

The strike in Atlantic City comes on the heels of agreements with four casinos.

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On Eve of DNC, Democratic Members of Congress Denounce Trump and Icahn-omics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 24, 2016
Contact: Ben Begleiter,  203-668-6676

Video of all speeches is available at https://unitehere.box.com/v/july242016

IMG_6217(Atlantic City, NJ) –Several members of Congress and a DNC vice-chair joined striking Trump Taj Mahal workers on the picket line in Atlantic City to condemn Donald Trump ally and corporate raider, Carl Icahn.

“I am proud to stand with striking Trump Taj Mahal workers in their struggle against Donald Trump’s would-be Treasury Secretary, Carl Icahn, for healthcare and a fair contract. My office will pursue Brokaw Act legislation in order to prioritize workers, communities and businesses over short term financial gains,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-13)

Since July 1, about 1,000 cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail servers and other service workers have been on strike at the Trump Taj Mahal to reenter the middle-class after Icahn used the bankruptcy court to strip 1,000 workers of pay and benefits worth more than 1/3 of their total compensation. Many workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, including those with years on the job, have seen only $.80 per hour in total raises over the last twelve years. The cost of living in Atlantic City has risen over 25 percent in the same time period. Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn an average of less than $12/ hour.

“The American people are sick and tired of an economy that is too often rigged against them. When a hedge fund can carve up a business, putting Americans out of work and the company’s future at risk for their own short-term gain—then it’s time for a change. The Brokaw Act is a necessary response to these abuses against American workers, one that will bring much-needed transparency and oversight to activist hedge funds,” said Congressman Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10)

Congressman Payne continued, “Carl Icahn, a good friend and adviser to Donald Trump, opposes the Brokaw Act—and it’s no surprise why. He is known for engaging in the abusive practices that this legislation would prevent. This man shouldn’t be in charge of a piggy bank, let alone our economic and financial systems.”

The Brokaw Act (SB 2720), which was introduced by Senator Baldwin (D-WI), would shorten the time period hedge funds have to make regulatory disclosures when they target a company, and prevent hedge funds from secretly banding together in “wolf-packs” to quietly accumulate shares in a company.

Both Donald Trump and Carl Icahn have taken millions from the Trump Taj Mahal for themselves while workers have been left holding the bag. As the sole debtholder between 2010 and 2014, Icahn extracted $350 million from the property, driving it into bankruptcy and then swooping in to take control. He used the bankruptcy proceeding to strip Taj Mahal workers of their retirement security and even basic benefits like healthcare. Overall, he cut total average worker compensation by 35%.

“We do what we have to to make sure our kids have a future. And then you have these businesses, these corporations, all they want to do is come in and take as much as they can and leave. They’re not building a legacy, you’re building a legacy. You’re a building a legacy of America for your children,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-7).

Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on taxpayer subsidized health insurance. A third have no health insurance at all, putting them at risk of bankruptcy in the event of an illness and forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the Emergency Room. Some of the workers rely on other public assistance programs, like food stamps.

“I’ve worked down here in Atlantic City for 30 years in my career as an electrician. No one has ever come to try to do what Icahn’s doing,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1).

“I am proud to stand with you as you seek to restore your basic rights, such as health care and pension benefits, that all workers should receive. For too long, America’s invaluable labor force has dealt with attacks on fair wages, basic benefits, and earned pensions. Unfortunately, we are witnessing another example of one of these attacks here at Trump Taj Mahal,” said Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-8).

“You get these hedge funds, and these unscrupulous investors who come in here buy the casinos in bankruptcy and all they want to do is milk it. They don’t care about long term investment in your lives, in your livelihoods, they don’t care about Atlantic City; they don’t care about the State of New Jersey. So you aren’t just helping yourselves, you’re helping all of us,” said Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-6).

“We need to be creating, solidifying, and protecting jobs here in the State of New Jersey… We stand with you and we’ll work in Congress to make sure [that] these people who take their money and run with it and leave us high and dry have to answer to us,” Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

The strike in Atlantic City comes on the heels of agreements with four casinos.

ADVISORY: US Congress Members Call on Trump Ally Carl Icahn to Settle Strike at Trump Taj Mahal

Press Advisory for June 24, 2016 at 12:00pm
Contact: Ben Begleiter, 203-668-6676

DNC Vice Chair and Eight Members of Congress Join Striking Trump Taj Mahal Workers on Picket Line Slam Icahn for Slashing Health Benefits, Holding Back Atlantic City Working Families and the Economy

WHAT: US Congressmembers join striking Taj Mahal workers to urge billionaire casino owner Carl Icahn to stop hurting Atlantic City families and the economy, and to negotiate a fair contract

WHO: Rep. Norcross, Rep. Boyle, Rep. Gallego, Rep. Brady, Rep. Watson-Coleman, Rep. Pallone, Rep. Ellison, Rep. Sanchez, DNC Vice-Chair Maria Elena Durazo and Striking Trump Taj Mahal workers.

WHEN: Sunday July 24, 2016 at 12PM

WHERE: Atlantic City Boardwalk at the Trump Taj Mahal

WHY: One thousand cooks, housekeepers, bellmen, bartenders, cocktail servers, and other service workers from the Trump Taj Mahal have been on strike since July 1.
The strike at the Trump Taj Mahal- a casino owned by billionaire Carl Icahn – follows on the heels of tentative agreements with the Tropicana and Caesars Entertainment, which owns Atlantic City’s Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s.

BACKGROUND: Many workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, including those with years on the job, have seen only $.80 in total raises over the last twelve years. The cost of living in Atlantic City has risen over 25 percent in the same time period. Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn an average of less than $12/ hour.

As the sole debtholder between 2010 and 2014, Icahn extracted $350 million from the property, driving it into bankruptcy and then swooping in to take control. He used the bankruptcy proceeding to strip Taj Mahal workers of health benefits and retirement security. Overall, he cut worker compensation in wages and benefits by 35%.

Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on taxpayer subsidized health insurance. A third have no health insurance at all, putting them at risk of bankruptcy in the event of an illness and forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the Emergency Room. Some of the workers rely on other public assistance programs, like food stamps.

For Immediate Release: Striking Workers at the Trump Taj Mahal lead Protest against Trump and Icahn-omics (WITH VIDEO)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 21, 2016
CONTACT: Diana Hussein, [email protected], 313-460-3119

tajrally1(Atlantic City, NJ) — Hours before Donald Trump was scheduled to give his first speech as the Republican nominee for president, almost 2,000 striking workers and their allies decried Icahn-omics—the economic policies of Trump Taj Mahal owner and Donald Trump’s top choice for Treasury Secretary, billionaire and “activist investor” Carl Icahn.

Since July 1, about 1,000 cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail servers and other service workers have been on strike at the Trump Taj Mahal to reenter the middle-class after Icahn used the bankruptcy court to strip 1,000 workers of pay and benefits worth more than 1/3 of their total compensation. Many workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, including those with years on the job, have seen only $.80 in total raises over the last twelve years. The cost of living in Atlantic City has risen over 25 percent in the same time period. Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn an average of less than $12/ hour.

“We built this business, and we’re tired of billionaires like Trump and Icahn feasting off of our hard work, and leaving us with nothing but the scraps,” said Ruth Ann Yee, a Fast Food Attendant at the Trump Taj. “Three weeks into the strike our resolve is only growing stronger, our fellow casino workers from the rest of Atlantic City are turning out to fight with us, and support from around the country continues to build.”

Both Donald Trump and Carl Icahn have taken millions from the Trump Taj Mahal for themselves while workers have been left holding the bag. As the sole debtholder between 2010 and 2014, Icahn extracted $350 million from the property, driving it into bankruptcy and then swooping in to take control. He used the bankruptcy proceeding to strip Taj Mahal workers of their retirement security and even basic benefits like healthcare. Overall, he cut average worker compensation in wages and benefits by 35%.

“We’ve had tremendous support from elected officials, from the rest of the labor movement, and from visitors to Atlantic City who continue to offer their support and bolster morale on the strike line. Today, people from every community across the region are coming to the strike line to tell the company that driving working people into poverty in order to make an easy buck is not acceptable. We won’t stand for Icahn-omics. When workers from every other casino, large or small, have health insurance that is affordable and that works it is time for the Trump Taj Mahal to step up to the plate,” said Bob McDevitt, President of UNITE-HERE Local 54.

Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on taxpayer subsidized health insurance. A third have no health insurance at all, putting them at risk of bankruptcy in the event of an illness and forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the Emergency Room. Some of the workers rely on other public assistance programs, like food stamps.

Labor, political and community allies from across the region joined the strikers to press the management of the Trump Taj Mahal to settle a fair contract, just as four other casinos in Atlantic City did on June 30.
# # #

More photos: http://bit.ly/tajrallypix

Full video of speakers:

Additional clips from rally:

Advisory: NJ Elected Officials, Allies from Across Region to Join Workers at March and Rally to Fight for Middle Class Jobs

Trump Taj Mahal Strikers to Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn: “Stop Destroying Our Livelihoods”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 21, 2016
CONTACT: Diana Hussein, [email protected], 313-460-3119


Read more

UNITE HERE Local 54 Announces 6 Hour Temporary Suspension of Picketing at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City

UNITE HERE Local 54 Announces 6 Hour Temporary Suspension of Picketing at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City

esau

Esau Ivan Madrid 1953-2016

(Atlantic City, NJ)—Local 54 is announcing it will temporarily suspend picketing at the Trump Taj Mahal on Tuesday July 19 from the hours of 10am-4pm to give striking workers the opportunity to attend memorial services for fellow striker Esau Ivan Madrid, who passed away Thursday evening at the age of 62.

Our fallen brother Esau Ivan Madrid worked at the Trump Taj Mahal for 17 years as a dishwasher in the cafeteria. Mr. Madrid is survived by a son and a daughter, nine brothers and sisters, and many nieces and nephews. Esau’s sister Alba Madrid Torres is also on strike at the Trump Taj Mahal. Esau had a health condition which required regular medical attention, which was unaffordable to him after the Trump Taj Mahal took away healthcare 20 months ago. Mr. Madrid will be remembered by his coworkers as a fighter for justice and healthcare for all workers.

“We are all deeply saddened by the passing of our brother. On behalf of Local 54 we extend our condolences to Esau’s family. May God comfort you in your grief. I can think of no greater tribute to Esau than to bring healthcare to those who need it most,” said Donna DeCaprio, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 54.

Even though there will be no picketing during those hours, the workers at the Trump Taj Mahal are still on strike, and Local 54 still encourages visitors to Atlantic City to patronize any other casino in Atlantic City.

The family and Local 54 requests no media at the services, and Local 54 will have no further comment on Mr. Madrid’s passing.

Tropicana ratification results: 99% voted to ratify today!

This comes on the heels of Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s ratification earlier this week, making the Trump Taj Mahal the only casino in Atlantic City refusing to negotiate a fair contract with it’s workers. Read more

UNITE HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt Statement on Taj Mahal Letter

Bob McDevitt, President, UNITE HERE Local 54:

“This company took healthcare off the table 20 months ago. Can you imagine what it is like to work in this city—to spend your days doing the backbreaking work of cleaning hotel rooms or walking all over the casino floor serving drinks in high heels—without health insurance? To worry about how you’ll afford a trip to the doctor if your child gets sick? These workers have been without healthcare for almost 2 years because of this company, and now, 1/3 have no insurance and another 50% rely on taxpayer subsidized health care. Their average compensation was cut by over one-third, and then, to rub their noses in it, this company offered them health insurance that was essentially half of what every other property agreed to, including the Taj’s sister casino. These workers want to know why it is okay for Trop workers to be able to go to the doctor, but not them. The company continually holds up the Trop as an example of a property that was doing poorly and is now doing well. At no point did the Tropicana propose eliminating health benefits for the workers. Why is the Taj different? We have said from the outset that the Taj would never be profitable unless it partnered with the union. Part of the reason that the property continues to do poorly is BECAUSE of how it has treated its workforce.”