New Taj Mahal Owners Sign Labour Agreement
Hard Rock International, the new owner of the Trump Taj Mahal casino, has signed an important “card count neutrality” agreement with labour union, UNITE HERE Local 54. This “Card Count Neutrality” agreement could see the return of all of the 3 000 workers left unemployed after the resort closed its doors in 2016.
If all goes well, UNITE HERE Local 54 will represent these employees once the operator officially opens the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, currently under construction on the former Trump Taj Mahal site, in June 2018.
“Card Count Neutrality” Agreement
Under this agreement, Hard Rock International has committed, in principle, to recognising UNITE HERE Local 54 as the official bargaining agent of the casino’s employees. This is provided that a third party confirms that the majority of employees have signed union membership cards.
The term “neutrality” refers to the operator’s commitment not to prevent its employees from joining the union, as well as union members’ agreement not to disrupt their workplace via picketing, strikes or boycotts.
Card count neutrality agreements are becoming increasingly popular with workers and employers in the United States as a means to recognise employees’ official bargaining agents. It is considered by many to be a more democratic option than the traditional National Labor Relations Board-sponsored elections because it eliminates the potential for employers to use their power to coerce employees into voting in the company’s interests instead of their own.
The 2016 Strikes
According to the property’s last owner, New York businessman Carl Icahn, it was union trouble that put the Trump Taj Mahal out of business back in 2016. Icahn alleges that the resort was unable to recover from the damage done by a month-long worker strike and picket over health insurance and pension packages.
Workers downed tools in protest the fact that their health insurance and pension benefits had not been restored since they gave them up to help the beleaguered Trump Taj Mahal to escape bankruptcy in 2010.
Things Are Looking Up
As mentioned, 3 000 people (1 000 of which were Local 54 members) lost their jobs when the Trump Taj Mahal closed down over a year ago. With the launch of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, however, all of these people may get their jobs back under the card count neutrality agreement. The operator has confirmed that over a 1 000 jobs will be generated during the construction process and that another 3 000 will be created once the resort is fully operational.
Both parties told the Press of Atlantic City that they are satisfied with the arrangement. Hard Rock International Officials described the value of this work with the labour union as a catalyst for successful entrance into the Atlantic City market. Speaking for the union, Local 54 President Bob McDevitt had high praise for Hard Rock management and its understanding of the Atlantic City market.