One month ago today, 1,000 UNITE HERE! Local 54 casino workers at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City took to the picket line to fight for health care, pensions, paid breaks and other benefits.
The last time workers walked off the job for this long was 2004, when 10,000 workers went on strike at the height of the industry’s profitability. Current owner of the Taj, billionaire Carl Icahn stripped workers of these benefits 21 months ago through bankruptcy proceedings, amidst casino closures that left 5,000 workers without jobs. Those who remain have had to forego medical treatments for chronic health conditions due to lack of insurance in some instances.
“We lived in the middle class, basically. And now we’re basically working poor,” Peter Battaglini told NJ Platform filmmaker Ellen Reynolds over Fourth of July weekend. Hear more in the video below from workers about the challenges they face on the job and in their communities as a result of the casino closures and subsequent attacks on workers’ rights.