Bob McDevitt, president of UNITE HERE Local 54, released the following statement after Carl Icahn announced he would close the Trump Taj Mahal rather than negotiate with the casino's working people:
How petty. I would never have thought Carl Icahn was so one-dimensional. The great deal-maker would rather burn the Trump Taj Mahal down just so he can control the ashes. For a few million bucks he could have had labor peace and a content workforce, but instead he’d rather slam the door shut on these long-term workers just to punish them and attempt to break their strike. There was no element of trying to reach an agreement here on Icahn’s part; it was always “my way or the highway” from the beginning with Icahn. It is the epitome of the playground bully, who picks up his ball and announces he is going home because nobody else would do it his way. It is truly a shame that such an unscrupulous person has control of billions of dollars.
These workers are exercising their fundamentally American right to stand up for themselves in the face of injustice. Icahn took it personally. This is clearly not a business decision—a few million dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the money he publicly promised he would put into the Trump Taj Mahal. It’s a classic take-the-money-and-run: Icahn takes hundreds of millions of dollars out of Atlantic City and then announces he is closing up shop. This titan of Wall Street is utterly incapable of making a decision unless it is mean-spirited and benefiting him alone, and he is plagued with indecisiveness when things don’t go his way.
Twenty-two months ago Icahn took away these workers’ health care, retirement and dignity. We’ve all been playing Icahn’s game since then. In the end he’ll have to live with what he’s done to working people in Atlantic City, and have to justify whatever myopic prism he is using today to evaluate how, once again, his decision making process makes sense to nobody but himself. This is now the third casino closure Icahn has orchestrated in Atlantic City. The Boardwalk is littered with empty monuments to his greed. Icahn has lost the capacity for self-reflection, the ability to realize that when you are completely alone in your position it just might mean you are wrong.
In the end, these workers stood up for what every other casino worker doing their job in this town has, and what every other casino worker here has had since gaming was introduced to Atlantic City over three decades ago. And, as with playground bullies, we also know that he’ll be back another day, demanding something else based upon the whims of the moment. Thank God there are working people who will stand up to him.
If this is the guy Donald Trump wants to be treasury secretary of the United States, then this country is doomed.
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