Culinary union calls for Trump Hotels boycott


Failed negotiation talks between the Trump Hotel Las Vegas and its labor union have resulted in the call for a national boycott. Unite Here, a labor union 264,000 members strong, is urging travelers to avoid all Trump hotels and golf courses in its latest bid to get discussions going at the hotel once again, where roughly 525 workers belonging to the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 still await further contact with management over votes to unionize in February.

Since then, the hotel has settled with two of its former employees over claims they were fired for supporting the union, as well as being denied job transfers in favor of other employees. The settlement came to $11,200, but has done little to calm unrest at the hotel where Unite Here president D. Taylor has continued to release increasingly aggressive statements.

"Enough is enough,” Taylor said on Sept. 27. “While Donald Trump waged an indefensible anti-worker and anti-immigrant presidential campaign, the workers at his Las Vegas hotel fought for dignity and respect in their workplace. They voted to unionize, they won, and now the law says Trump must negotiate.”

These boycotts are not expected to stop at the Las Vegas property; Trump hotels in Virginia, New York and Florida are the union's next targets as they continue to put pressure on operators. But Trump's hotels aren't the only ones feeling Unite Here's scorn, with all 10 of Station Casinos' Clark County properties and the Palms Casino Resort in active labor disputes. All are members of the culinary union's list of properties to avoid. The Trump Las Vegas is the target of particular ire, however, after instead of working with employees to provide raises when it was proven that the property's workers were earning $3 less than competing hotels, Trump management spent $500,000 on outside consultants to stall negotiations and work against the unionization.

In addition, the AFL-CIO has come out in support of the boycott, according to a spokeswoman from the Culinary Workers Union. The AFL-CIO works in association with 12 million U.S. workers in 56 unions across the country.

It has been a long week for Donald Trump, the good mixed with the bad. The Republican presidential candidate kicked off the week on Monday sparring with opponent Hillary Clinton on live TV, while Eric Danziger, CEO of the Trump Hotel Collection, unveiled the company's new Scion brand at the Lodging Conference in Phoenix. Danziger said the name was chosen as "a nod to the Trump family and to the tremendous success it has had with its businesses," a facet of the hotel mogul's image that has remained center stage throughout his run for office. 

However, Trump Hotels was also forced to settle with the New York attorney general over data breaches that took place in May 2015. Data breaches are not a rarity in the hotel space (it has been said that if you have not yet been hacked, you are about to be), but it's all coming up as unfortunate timing during a critical phase of the growth of the Trump brand, both in and outside the hospitality sector. Other operators should note that the attorney general took issue with Trump Hotels’ poor data protections and slow reaction to disclosing information to guests, in some cases breaching New York law.