Carl Icahn's Conflict with Casino Union Leaders Deepens6 years ago
Last week Carl Icahn has received permission from a judge to take over Trump Entertainment Resorts, the parent company of the Taj Mahal. However, the billionaire has been fighting with Taj Mahal’s main casino union for months due to the employees’ health insurance problem. The war between Icahn who put up the money in an effort to save the Atlantic City casino and Unite-HERE Local 54, union that represents workers, does not seem any closer to an amicable solution.
The company is trying to emerge from bankruptcy and when the court ended employees’ health insurance, Icahn had a plan to switch the employees to government run coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Unite Here Union had fifth public protest against the benefits cuts in front of the Taj Mahal, which prompted the billionaire to send the letter to the leadership of the union, comparing them with mobsters.
In the letter, the future owner of the Taj has mentioned that he is not against unions in general but he is against those unions that are actively trying to squeeze extra money from a troubled company. He is familiar with unionized employees because many of the companies he owns have fair and balanced healthcare plans.
Billionaire has noted that Unite-HERE health plan has made $140m in net income even though the Taj has gone bankrupt twice. He asked the leadership of the union where has that $140m in net income gone and noted that it did nothing to help the company which is losing millions of dollars every month.
It is Ichan's opinion that the majority of Local 54 employees at the casino don't recognize self-interested motives of their leaders. The union president Bob McDevitt has said that if the Taj doesn’t make contributions to their health plan the workers will say “just close the place". Wealthy businessman doesn’t believe that all workers agree with McDevitt because he has received numerous letters and phone calls from the employees, thanking him for saving the company and their jobs.
Future owner of the Taj Mahal wrote in the letter that the union is threatening him that if he doesn’t pay exorbitant contributions to Unite-HERE health’s fund, there will be consequences. However, if Taj Mahal had to make those contributions there would be no way for the company to get out of the bankruptcy any time soon.
In October, judge approved the company’s move to end health insurance and the union decided to appeal that ruling. If the ruling goes against him, Icahn will most likely close the casino because he doesn't believe that the Taj can afford to pay what the union is demanding at this point in time.
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