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Employment disputes send Taj Mahal workers on strike

Contracts are essential for many Massachusetts employees. Aside from setting pay, contracts also address vacation time, pension and health insurance. Employers and their workers are sometimes at odds over the terms outlined in contracts, leading to employment disputes that do not always have clear resolutions.

The Trump Taj Mahal is a fixture for gambling aficionados across the country, but a recent strike has some gamblers going elsewhere. Over 1,000 workers are currently striking after their union failed to reach an agreement for new contracts with the Taj Mahal. Security personnel and casino dealers did not walkout, but workers who prepare food, serve drink, clean rooms and carry luggage were among those included in the strike.

A 2014 bankruptcy filing by the Taj Mahal did not bode well for union workers. The judge overseeing the bankruptcy case determined that pension and worker health care benefits could both be slashed from contracts as the casino could no longer afford the costs. The absence of these benefits in new contracts is what spurned the union to action, although the casino reportedly offered a health care package that the union labeled inadequate. The casino's owner -- who, despite its name, is not Donald Trump -- has made multiple statements claiming that he would rather withdraw all of his financial support for Taj Mahal rather than reinstate pension and health care benefits.

This is not the first time that the union has staged a walkout, the last of which occurred in 2004 and lasted just over one month. Strikes and walkouts can be effective strategies for resolving employment disputes between workers and employers. When workers in Massachusetts are unhappy with ongoing contract negotiations, taking strategic action in order to achieve a better outcome can help ensure more favorable contract terms.

Source: The Guardian, "Trump Taj Mahal workers go on strike over contract disputes", July 1, 2016

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