U.S Supreme Court Rules Against Trump Taj Mahal Casino Union Workers
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the appeal made by the union workers of Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City to restore their health and pension benefits.
The casino had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014 and a federal bankruptcy judge had agreed to provisions for cost savings in a bid to improve its financial health. One of the measures approved was revoking the healthcare and pension benefits provided to the casino employees.
As a compensating measure, the casino had extended stipends to its employees to enable them to purchase their own healthcare through the Affordable Care Act but the gesture has been termed as insufficient by many workers, leading to a legal battle. Local 54 belonging to the Unite-HERE union which represents majority of the casino workers has been pursuing legal action to overturn the decision. The union has said that the workers deserve to get the same benefits that are available to employees of other casinos in Atlantic city.
The Judges presiding on the case in the Supreme Court however decided to uphold the rulings made by lower courts which had favored the casino’s management. A spokesperson for the union said that a statement will be released on the judgment shortly. The union had earlier announced that a strike against the casino had been authorized but it has so far not enforced the strike. It has however organized numerous public pickets and protest rallies against the casino.
Formerly owned by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the casino was brought out of bankruptcy by billionaire Carl Icahn who took control in 2015. He has repeatedly said that if the benefits are restored to the casino employees, he would withdraw his financial support to the casino.
According to Icahn, the benefits being given to the workers are unaffordable in the current economic situation of Atlantic City’s struggling casino industry. Icahn has been clashing with union leaders over this issue for over a year. He has accused Bob McDevitt president of Local 54 of trying to close the casino down by pushing for unreasonable demands.
Competition from neighboring states has resulted in the city’s casino revenue dropping from $5.2 billion in 2006 to just $2.56 billion in 2015. Four of the city’s twelve casinos had to shut down operations in 2014. Icahn has so far invested close to $15 million into the Taj Mahal casino in order to make upgrades and restore the fortunes of the casino.
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