For immediate release
July 13, 2016
Union Members March to Trump Tower to Protest Trump’s Anti-Worker Policies
NEW YORK – Today, Trump Taj Mahal casino workers who went on strike July 1 to save good middle-class jobs are taking their protests from the Atlantic City Boardwalk to the office doorstep of casino owner, corporate raider and Donald Trump ally Carl Icahn. At the protest, striking workers are giving first-hand testimony about how Icahn’s obsessive focus on short-term profits has devastated working families. The rally will shift to a political demonstration against the presumptive Republican nominee with a march on Trump Tower immediately after.
“I’ve worked hard for twenty-six years cleaning dozens of guest rooms per week at this casino,” said Patsy Heath, a housekeeper at the Trump Taj Mahal. “Now I’ve injured myself on the job, my bills are piling up, and Carl Icahn has taken away my health care so that he can pad his own profits. Icahn has been a disaster for working people at the Trump Taj Mahal, and Donald Trump is crazy if he wants to put him in charge of our country’s economy.”
Icahn and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump profited from the Taj Mahal even as it went through multiple bankruptcies. Icahn extracted $350 million in profit from the casino, reduced average compensation by over a third and drove many workers onto taxpayer-funded public assistance by stripping them of basic benefits like healthcare.
Icahn’s association with Trump extends beyond their dealings in Atlantic City. Icahn is among a group of high profile Wall Street billionaires who have rallied to Trump’s campaign, and Trump has suggested Icahn would be his top choice for Treasury Secretary. By making that suggestion, Trump has shown that he is really anti-worker.
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.