Although Donald Trump no longer owns the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, a strike of the employees at the casino continues to make headlines. That's because almost everything related to Trump is in the news these days.
Atlantic City is in trouble as the casino industry on which it was built is now on shaky ground. The Trump Taj Mahal, one of the biggest casinos, is closed as its employees are on strike and it doesn't look like it'll end any time soon.
The strike was started by Local 54 of the Unite-Here union. Beginning last Friday, the employees walked off their jobs. The reasoning for doing so was because their health insurance, pension plans and other benefits have been cut. Those cuts came back in 2014 as the former owners got backing from a bankruptcy judge to do so. At the time, Trump was attempting to sell the casino to save it and the new owner, Carl Icahn, would only agree to the purchase if the union agreed to cutbacks. Otherwise the casino was to go bankrupt and everyone would lose their jobs. As a result, an agreement was made.
But now that the casino is back up and running, the union wants some of their benefits to be returned. On the flip side, Icahn is trying to say that the union is aiming to sabotage his casino after he invested over $86 million just to keep it running.
The Trump Taj Mahal isn't completely closed as some table games are still open. The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest of the year, so they opened up what they could to make some money. The main areas that the strike has affected are non-gambling related. It's extended to servers, cooks, those who move luggage, housekeeping and a few other departments. However, dealers and security aren't part of the union, so it is business as usual for them. However, there was no hotel occupancy as there is no one to take luggage to rooms and there is no one to clean the rooms.
This strike has been a long time coming, and now that it's here it's not to going to be a pretty ending. Icahn doesn't plan on budging on giving back the health benefits and the pensions. The root of the problem is the diminished foot traffic and action in Atlantic City, which means the casinos are taking in less money and they're not able to afford to pay the employees what they once did.
However, the union wants the best for its employees and is fighting for their rights. But until the casino finds a way to make more money, there won't be enough to go around to satisfy their requests. And the longer the strike persists, the less money the casino will have to pay out. Expect this to be a long, bitter and drawn-out battle in which there are no real winners.
The last time that this union had a strike was in 2004, and it lasted 34 days. This has the chance to go much longer.