December 26, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – The state Assembly voted 60-17 Dec. 19 to pass a bill intended to prevent billionaire Carl Icahn from reopening the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City without a union contract.
The vote sent the measure, approved by the state Senate in October, to Gov. Chris Christie. It would suspend the license of any casino owner who’s shut operations since January 2016 for five years unless they agree to sign a union contract before they reopen. As of now, the only person that would cover is Icahn, who closed the Taj Mahal in October during a strike by UNITE HERE Local 54. “This is designed to be a carrot, not a stick, by encouraging casino owners to remain open,” Assemblymember John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) said in a statement, but added that it was also intended to stop owners from “taking advantage of bankruptcy laws and pocketing a license or, even worse, stripping workers of benefits and denying them a fair wage.” Icahn, who acquired the bankrupt casino last March, said in October that the bill would make it virtually impossible to reopen it. Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said it “sends a strong signal that the referendum in 1976 that authorized casino gaming contemplated good jobs with benefits.” Read more