Thursday, May 04, 2017

Gujarati workers of US hotel, formerly owned by Donald Trump, to seek support in Ahmedabad for their struggle

By Our Representative
In a rare show of effort to seek support in Gujarat, leaders of the protesting workers working in the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel of the US have decided to hold a public meeting at the Ahmedabad Textile Management Association (ATMA) auditorium, Ahmedabad on May 11.
To be held between 4 pm and 7 pm in the auditorium situated on Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, three of the leaders, who happen to be from Gujarat, will be “sharing lessons from the strike – and to learn from the working class movement in India”, says Ashim Roy of the Chemical Mazdoor Panchayat, who is organizing the event.
Things began on July 1, 2016, when more than 1,000 cooks, housekeepers, bellmen, bartenders, and food servers from the Trump Taj Mahal hotel in Atlantic City, USA, went on strike. Originally built by US president Donald Trump, the Trump Taj Mahal, over the last 12 years, cut pay and benefits for workers by 35 per cent, sending many into poverty.
Atlantic City is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, and is about 200 km -- or nearly two hours drive towards the south of New York city. Atlantic City is one of the three major spots in US where Americans throng to play casino, the other two being  Las Vegas and Reno Nevada.
“The workers had had enough”, says Roy, adding, “They decided it was time to stand up, and defend all the rights that the union had fought for in Atlantic City.”
He states, “The workers were immigrants from all over the world – India, Mexico, China, and many other countries – but they stood together and refused to be divided by the boss. They supported each other through a 102 day strike, demanding justice.”
According to Roy, “On October 10, the Trump Taj Mahal closed down. But the workers had succeeded in defending the union standard for wages and benefits in Atlantic City. They had gone on strike knowing that if they let the Trump Taj Mahal take away their rights, then every other hotel employer in Atlantic City would try to do the same thing to 10,000 of their fellow union members.”
“The Trump Taj Mahal workers came to the US as immigrants from many different countries. So the solidarity they received from workers and unions around the world was very important. It built up their morale, and reminded them that this fight is global”, Roy says.
“It was especially important to receive support from India. Many of the workers came from Gujarat, and were key leaders in this fight. Not one Indian worker crossed the picket line during the strike”, he added, pointing towards the reason why they decided to hold a public meeting at ATMA auditorium.
Three of the Gujarati worker-leaders from the strike are visiting India, to share lessons from the strike – and to learn from the working class movement in India”, Roy says, adding, “The workers will talk about the economic model that allows billionaires like Donald Trump to get richer, while the workers get poorer.”
“They will also talk about working conditions in US hotels, the need to organize and fight, and what they had to do in order to sustain the longest strike in Atlantic City’s history”, he noted.

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