Trump Taj Mahal and Unite Here Union Engaged in Cold-War Style Brinksmanship

In a fascinating case of brinksmanship, Trump Entertainment, which owns Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September citing, among other reasons, the decline in Atlantic City’s gambling market, debt, and significant tax increases. The Bankruptcy Court agreed to allow the Company to break its contract with the union representing its employees because wages and benefits were a significant contributor to the Company’s debt. Specifically, the pension will be replaced with a 401(k) and employer-provided health insurance will be swapped out for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Union, Unite Here Local 54, appealed this decision claiming that the Bankruptcy Court did not have the authority to render such a ruling. The Casino says it will close in mid-December if the Union does not drop its appeal. Who do you think blinks first?

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at