Trump Taj Mahal Faces Union Unrest

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The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey was surrounded by roughly a thousand union protesters Friday after they were unable to agree on a new labor contract.

Unite-Here Local 54 and hotel owners were supposed to reach a contract deal by Thursday. They negotiated into the night but were unable to resolve the hotel’s decision to suspend healthcare and pension benefits. Unionized bartenders, cooks, luggage handlers and other hotel workers walked off the job early in the morning when it became clear a deal would not be reached.

“All day and all night, Local 54 on strike!” the protesters chanted from the nearby boardwalk, reports The Associated Press. “We don’t get no contract, you don’t get no peace!”

The Taj Mahal casino was owned by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump before going into bankruptcy two years ago. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn then bought the casino and invested millions into it. The new management quickly found itself at odds with Local 54 when it started to slash benefits.

The union even filed a lawsuit against the casino, but it was defeated in the courts. A bankruptcy judge claimed in 2014 that without making changes to the agreement, the casino would be forced to close, reports the Dow Jones Newswires. The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear the case May 31 when the union tried to appeal its lower-court loss.

The casino and union have technically been without a collective bargaining agreement since 2014. Federal law still dictates certain provisions, like benefits, must remain in place until a new contract is reached. Local 54 has argued that bankruptcy does not allow an employer to cut benefits agreed to under a collective bargaining agreement.

The casino gave workers stipends so they could purchase their own healthcare plans, but the union rejected the idea as being inadequate.

Labor union unrest has also unfolded at other hotels with the Donald Trump name. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165 are fighting to unionize the Trump Las Vegas hotel — which is still owned by the Donald Trump hotel empire, unlike the Atlantic city casino.

Las Vegas hotel workers voted to unionize Dec. 7, but management refused to recognize the vote despite federal pressure. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) region director ruled the election was valid and management must recognize the union. Hotel management filed a lawsuit Oct. 14 alleging the two locals knowingly lied in a flyer about Trump staying at a unionized hotel.

Trump has faced significant opposition from the labor movement throughout the election, which the Las Vegas dispute added to. The AFL-CIO declared Trump its loser of the week Feb. 22 over the Las Vegas labor dispute and again Feb. 29 for saying he likes right-to-work.

The Taj Mahal casino did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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