Statement From Bob McDevitt, President of Unite Here Local 54, On Visit of Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 6, 2016
“We thank Hillary Clinton for joining us in our fight for good jobs not only in Atlantic City, but across the United States. One thousand workers from the Trump Taj Mahal are on strike to keep their middle class jobs from an investor hell-bent on destroying them. Donald Trump and Carl Icahn have done everything they can to suck money out of the property at the expense of the people who do the work. The result of Trump Taj Mahal being used as a cash cow for short term investment gain is that now half of the workers at the Trump Taj Mahal are forced to rely on subsidized health insurance; a third have no health insurance at all, forcing taxpayers to pay for visits to the emergency room. Few can spend any extra income to support Atlantic City’s economy.
The guy Trump wants running our economy has used bankruptcy to eliminate good jobs and benefits for workers instead of investing in them in a way that could help Atlantic City’s economy recover. As the principal creditor between 2010 and 2014, Carl 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. Trump’s name on the building is a clear endorsement of this strip-mining.
And it’s why, while workers at Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s and the Tropicana all were able to reach tentative agreements with the casinos’ owners last week, the Taj still remains the only holdout.
By going on strike, Trump Taj Mahal workers are standing up against Wall Street billionaire bullies for good, middle-class jobs in this country.”
One thousand cooks, housekeepers, bellmen and servers from the Trump Taj Mahal walked off the job on July 1 ahead of the industry’s biggest holiday weekend to fight for decent wages and the future of their middle class livelihoods.
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.
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 principle creditor 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, retirement security and even paid breaks. Overall, he cut worker compensation in wages and benefits by 35%.
Without health benefits, half of workers at the Trump Taj Mahal rely on 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.
ABOUT UNITE HERE
UNITE HERE represents workers throughout the United States and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food, service, airport, textile, manufacturing, distribution, laundry and transportation industries. Learn more at www.unitehere.org. Local 54, UNITE HERE’s Atlantic City affiliate, represents almost 10,000 casino workers fighting for the future of their families.