While he’s off winning a landslide victory at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, two of Donald Trump’s hotels continue to see a different kind of action.
The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas has been embroiled in a conflict with its employees since December 2015 when its workers voted to join the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165 of Unite Here.
Reports began to pop up in February of this year that workers in Las Vegas had been suspended for showing support for unionization efforts. At that time, the hotel’s management had approached the National Labor Relations Board with accusations that the Culinary Workers Union had used intimidation tactics to get the votes it needed to push unionization along, with the NLRB throwing out these claims. Trump’s company has since asked for a review to challenge the NLRB’s decision.
And yet here we are, five months later and the hotel has still yet to conclude talks with its workers. As of today, both unions have arranged rallies outside of the Las Vegas property in a bid to encourage management to address the dispute. Organizers expect thousands of people to participate in this afternoon's event, including hotel employees who are members of the Culinary Union. In addition, the rally is an official event for the international convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The five-month gap between the beginning of the strike at the Trump and the current demonstration, likely given new life by the timing of the Republican National Convention, is prompting frustrated reactions from union organizers and others on social media. Unite Here specifically called out Donald Trump on Twitter over his lack of action when it comes to working with the employees at his Las Vegas hotel:
The sentiment was later echoed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees:
While union organizers want to sit down with the Trump’s management as soon as possible, the likelihood of talks taking place any time soon is slim. A disclosure form from the Labor Department shows that, to date, Trump Ruffin Commercial (a joint venture between Donald Trump and Phil Ruffin) has spent roughly $500,000 to combat the unionization efforts at the Las Vegas property.
Trump’s Las Vegas hotel isn’t the only one of his hotels in the midst of a strike; the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., is 20 days into a walkout that could be putting the future of the property at stake. Workers left their posts at the hotel, which is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, to pressure the property into restoring health insurance to employees. The Local 54 of Unite Here in Atlantic City was given until Monday to vote on a new offer from the hotel, but union president Bob McDevitt rejected the deal calling it “essentially half” of what workers at other area casinos were making.
As many as 1,000 food-and-beverage and housekeeping employees at the Taj Mahal went on strike July 1 after the union failed to secure a contract that would restore health care and pension benefits that were lost when a bankruptcy judge terminated the contract in 2014. The hotel remains open, and dealers and security are not participating in the strike.
Tony Rodio, head of Tropicana Entertainment, which manages the Taj Mahal, said in a statement that the Taj Mahal offered to pay for the union’s hotel plan, including medical insurance for all union members and their families, but would be unable to do so at the same level as some other casinos. He also called on hotel employees to consider the $86 million Icahn has invested into the hotel to keep it open since its bankruptcy in September 2014.
“Regrettably, the union failed to put the offer to a vote by its Taj Mahal membership and therefore as we indicated last week, the offer has been permanently withdrawn,” Rodio said.