The finger pointing now begins as Billionaire casino investor Carl Icahn blamed officials of Local 54 of the Unite-Here of inciting the soon-to-be unemployed workers of the Taj Mahal to destroy their own jobs by participating in the longest strike by Atlantic City’s main casino workers union, according to Associated Press.
On Wednesday, Taj’s management firm Tropicana Entertainment announced that the Taj Mahal will cease its operations after Labor Day after failing to reach agreement with its striking unionized workforce, claiming that he lost $100 million on the Taj Mahal in more than a year.
In a letter to the Taj workers, Icahn deflected the blame to Unite Here and claimed that Unite Here has doomed 3,000 jobs after it declined its final offer, which is to restore the employee’s health care, albeit at a lower level than what workers at Atlantic City’s other seven casinos.
The offer was negotiated with union president Bob McDevitt but the latter rejected it knowing that a strike would result, according to Icahn.
“We suggest you ask Local 54 leadership several questions that continue to perplex us: Why have they incited you, the Union workers at the Taj, to destroy your jobs and your livelihood rather than accept the prior offer that we made at McDevitt’s suggestion,” Icahn said in a letter to the Taj employees that is posted on his website. “Even more perplexing, knowing that this was our best and final offer and that the consequence of rejection could be a strike, which would be tantamount to kicking a sick man when he’s down.”
Icahn pointed out that he is not foolish to “burn tens of millions of dollars when there is no hope.”
“It is one thing to fund losses when a path to profitability exists,” he wrote in Thursday’s letter. “The strike has been the latest and final nail.”
The Billionaire also clarified that his company wasn’t involved with the Taj management and ownership that put the casino into bankruptcy. But for McDevitt, the blood is still on Icahn’s hands as the businessman sucked the casino dry as its main lender before and during its most recent stay in bankruptcy.
“Carl Icahn has taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of Atlantic City over the past several years,” he said. “He told the workers they were the most important asset of the property. Now, rather than negotiate with those same workers, he has decided he would rather close down. It has been nothing but the usual my-way-or-the-highway from Carl Icahn. That’s not trying to reach an agreement; that’s punishing working people for standing up to injustice.”