Billionaire casino investor Carl Icahn threw out a new offer made by casino workers’ union Local 54 of Unite-HERE, which the group claimed would have prevented the closure of the beleaguered Trump Taj Mahal casino.
The Associated Press reported that Icahn has stood pat in his decision to shutter the Trump Taj Mahal on October 10, 2016 and no new offer from Local 54 will ever change the mind of the businessman.
Tony Rodio, president of the Tropicana casino, which Icahn also owns, reiterated the earlier statement of Icahn that the union has no one but itself to blame for the impending loss of nearly 3,000 jobs.
“This was not a negotiating session,” Rodio said. “As previously announced, the Taj Mahal will close its doors on October 10, 2016… If McDevitt cared even one iota about the future of the employees he would have allowed them to vote on the proposal we offered five weeks ago based on his recommendations, which we believe could have saved the Taj. But in the end he blindsided us and the employees because closing the Taj served his personal purposes.”
On Monday, the Rodio-led representatives of Taj Mahal and the union met to discuss the details of the closure of the casino. During the meeting, the union made a last ditch attempt to save the jobs of striking casino workers by presenting what the group described as a “win-win” solution to the Trump Taj Mahal predicament.
The union proposed for restoration of health insurance in January for Taj Mahal workers that was terminated in 2014 and at the same time, would adopt in September 2017 the same contract terms that Tropicana agreed to before the Taj strike began on July 1.
According to the Local 54, the new offer will only cost Icahn $1.3 million more than his last offer.
“We came up with a proposal that will restore what we have lost, while at the same time giving the company time to rebuild its business,” Peter Battaglini, a bellman at the casino since the day it opened in 1990, said, according to the news wire agency. “This is a win-win proposal in my book.”
Around 1,000 Local 54 members walked off the job ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend to protest the cancellation of their health and pension benefits by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who assumed ownership of the Taj after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2014.
Icahn has offered to partially restore these benefits but not to the level that Local 54 is demanding, claiming that the offer isn’t even on par with the benefits enjoyed by workers at Icahn’s other AC property, the Tropicana.
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.
“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.”