Local 54

Local 54's strike at Trump Taj Mahal stretches into the fifth day on Tuesday.

ATLANTIC CITY — Unite Here Local 54 members picketing Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort got a visit Saturday from high-profile, bi-partisan supporters, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo.

The two spoke briefly to a group of picketers on the Boardwalk outside the casino, where the union went on strike July 1.

“We had casino settlements all over Atlantic City, but this one was not settled,” said Booker, who spoke first after an introduction from the union’s president, Bob McDevitt.

Booker, a Democrat, called the casino’s offer to the union “insulting” and said he wanted to “give you guys my support” because their cause is bigger than one employer.

“When you win a strike like this, you send a ripple of hope to other workers who are struggling under similar or even worse conditions,” he added.

LoBiondo, a Republican and the local congressman, said he wanted to give “support and encouragement. What you’re asking for is just and fair, and what you do here sets a standard that goes way beyond just this casino, and I think you know that.”

Taj Mahal owner Carl Icahn said after the strike started that the casino offered the union a health care deal he thought members would accept. But McDevitt, the union president, called that offer a “shadow” of what the union got from other casinos.

Local 54 settled on contracts late last month with Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana Casino and Resort. Icahn also owns Tropicana.

A video of the visit by Booker and LoBiondo shows Booker asking to borrow a phone because he wanted “an epic selfie” with the strikers.

“The workers on the line were really jazzed up” by the visit, McDevitt said later. “It was very uplifting for them, and they feel that people know their cause is right.”

But he added that other South Jersey politicians, from City Council members to state legislators, have also visited the workers, not to mention presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who visited the city Wednesday and used it to target her opponent, presumptive Republican nominee and former casino owner Donald Trump. And David Cole, the Democrat running against LoBiondo in November, said Saturday that he showed up to support them July 1, the strike’s first day.

Contact: 609-272-7237

Copy desk chief / comics blogger

Print Director

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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