Following an appearance from Hillary Clinton in Atlantic City that drew national attention to casino workers’ ongoing strike at the Trump Taj Mahal, the state Senator from Atlantic City’s district called billionaire owner Carl Icahn’s inability to strike a deal with the union “mystifying.”
Senator Jim Whelan (D-2), who was on a first-name basis with Trump during his time as mayor of the declining casino capital, told PolitickerNJ that he doesn’t see why Icahn can’t come to a resolution with workers who are demanding that health and pension benefits be restored. Icahn has said that restoring those benefits would force him to shutter the casino.
“I don’t think it’ll have any effect,” he said of Clinton’s appearance alongside striking casino workers. “The Taj Mahal is owned by Carl Icahn now, Trump is there in name only. And unfortunately that strike is going to continue.
“It’s mystifying that Icahn made a deal with Tropicana but he can’t make a deal with Taj Mahal, but there they are.”
The Trump Taj Mahal was the only of Atlantic City’s remaining casinos to authorize a strike. The other four casinos whose workers are represented by the local chapter of casino workers’ union Unite Here all reached deals.
As for Clinton’s criticisms of Trump during her rally outside Boardwalk Hall earlier that day, Whelan said that the presumptive Democratic nominee’s remarks drew welcome attention to the effect the casino downturn and the great recession had on the area.
“There were a lot of small people that got stuck,” Whelan said, adding that Clinton’s remarks help to disprove “”this notion that it was just the banks that got stuck or the big financial people that got stuck.
“Unfortunately, everybody loses during a strike,” he continued. “The workers are losing their income and the Taj Mahal is affected as well. I hope the parties are going to get back together and figure out a way to get it settled. What that settlement will be I don’t know.
“I wish them well, I hope they get it.”