Casino union tells Icahn benefit elimination ‘not OK’
Promising a never-ending fight to restore health insurance and pension coverage that the Trump Taj Mahal casino eliminated last fall, a group of Atlantic City casino workers took their protest Tuesday to the New York City offices of the billionaire who is about the acquire the casino.
Members of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union went to billionaire investor Carl Icahn's Fifth Avenue offices, delivering a letter saying the casino's benefit cuts are "not OK."
Icahn is in the process of taking over the casino's parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts. On Wednesday, New Jersey regulators will decide whether he is fit to own the casino. He already owns Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort.
"It is not OK that you stripped us of our health insurance," the letter read. "It is not OK that you ripped away our retirement security. It is not OK that you have made it so that, on average, we make almost $12,000 less in pay and benefits. It is not OK that you hide in your penthouse while you destroy peoples' lives. It is not OK that you are trying to profit from turning us into the working poor."
Icahn, who did not immediately return a message seeking comment, has said he has no role in or control over Trump Entertainment, which he does not yet own. The union counters that Trump Entertainment made the cuts knowing that is what Icahn wanted done before acquiring it.
Icahn provided $20 million in December to keep the Taj Mahal from closing, but says he will shut it if the union wins a court appeal reinstating benefits he calls unaffordable.
Al Wallinger, who has worked at the Taj Mahal since it opened in 1990, tried to meet with Icahn, who sent a lawyer downstairs to accept the letter and a pie.
"We gave him an apple pie," Wallinger said. "Earlier this year when we sent him a similar letter, he said apple pie and roses isn't the way the world works."
The delivery of the letter was the eighth public protest the union has taken against Icahn since last year, including a nearly identical trip to his offices in late January.
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