Icahn likens Atlantic City union leaders to mobsters demanding protection _ or else

Associated Press

Ratcheting up his war of words with Atlantic City's main casino union, billionaire investor Carl Icahn likens them to mobsters demanding protection from merchants in return for not getting bricks through their windows.

In a letter Thursday to members of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, the soon-to-be owner of the Trump Taj Mahal casino calls union leadership "abhorrent" and likens a union-run health care plan to a protection racket extorting money from casinos.

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Icahn is battling the union over cost-saving measures at the money-losing Taj Mahal, which is trying to emerge from bankruptcy. The court ended employees' health insurance and Icahn wants to switch the workers to government-run coverage, with subsidies to help them pay for it.

The union rejected his criticism, and is fighting to reinstate the insurance.