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