The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas
The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas | wikipedia, the commons

Unions call for national boycott against Trump

Hundreds of Donald Trump’s hotel workers in Las Vegas are calling for a boycott against all of the billionaire's businesses. They want the Republican presidential nominee to “make America great again,” by taking care of his own employees - starting with themselves.

Picketing last week outside the 24-karat-gold gilded Trump International Hotel, they demanded a labor contract until their faces turned red.

The most recent protest came nine months after workers who clean the gleaming Trump International Hotel, and deliver food and drinks to its guests, voted to join the Culinary and Bartenders unions.

However, co-owners Trump and casino tycoon Phil Ruffin argue they don’t have to negotiate with about 500 employees because the vote was invalid, court records show. They accuse organizers of undermining a free and fair election by using fear and intimidation to coerce workers into joining Nevada’s 57,000-member Culinary and Bartenders unions.

Trump and Ruffin have been rebuffed in their efforts to overturn the December vote. The National Labor Relations Board (NCRB) certified the election in March. The union complained to the NLRB in August that the hoteliers are refusing to negotiate with them. They are awaiting a decision.  

Trump and Ruffin shelled out $560,631 in 2015, to a pay consultant Cruz & Associates to block the union, Labor Department disclosure forms show.

Nevertheless, Trump's Nevada campaign director, Charles Munoz, told AMI Newswire: “Donald Trump has consistently maintained excellent relations with employees in all of his businesses.” 

Employees at the opulent 64-story tower voted to join the union late last year. Along with hundreds of supporters, they protested stalled contract negotiations in front of the tower on Fashion Show Drive.

The mostly orange- and red-clad crowd held signs and chanted as they gathered around an inflatable figure depicting Trump as a gambling pig smoking a $100 bill.

“If Mr. Trump wants to ‘make America great again,’ he should start here,” housekeeper Carmen Llarull said. “He says he’s going to take care of women. How about a free lunch.”

At his hotel, there’s no such thing, the 64-year-old said. Employees work an extra 30-minutes at the end of their shifts to pay for the midday meal.

Like most of her immigrant coworkers, Llarull said she came to the U.S. to work hard and give her children opportunity.

The native of Argentina was fired for wearing a union pin. But because showing support is a protected right, she got her job back.

Now, she wants the security, higher pay, affordable healthcare and retirement plan that employees doing similar work under union contracts enjoy at nearby resorts.  In downtown Las Vegas and on the strip, roughly 95 percent of hotel workers are organized.

They earn about $3 more a hour than Trump’s employees and get better benefits, according to Culinary Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan.

Meanwhile, Trump reports an income of more than $27.2 million from the hotel and almost $18.4 million from the tower’s condo sales, campaign filings show.

Laborers' International Union of North America members joined the workers at the rally after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton got them fired up at their convention in Las Vegas. Last week, she described her opponent’s treatment of his hotel employees during a video conference.

“We heard Trump was out here union-busting,” Chaz Rynkiewicz, a New York City union organizer, said at the protest. “He’s not a friend of the working class.”

The National Labor Relations Board has issued at least four complaints against the hotel since workers started organizing in 2014.  Alleged violations of labor laws include employees being suspended, threatened and interrogated for union activities and the company asking them to agree to confidentiality rules that aren’t allowed.

Hotel management denies wrongdoing and has posted signs telling workers management will respect their rights, according to court documents.

The Culinary's Union's secretary, Geoconda Arguello-Kline, pledged to continue the effort.

“When you have good jobs, you have a good community,” she said. “We’re never going to give up this fight.”