When Donald Trump emerged from his Las Vegas hotel Tuesday evening to visit caucus sites, an unfriendly sight greeted him: hundreds of his employees picketing to form a union.
“No contract, no peace,” hotel employees wearing red Culinary Union T-shirts chanted on the sidewalk outside Trump’s property.
Trump is, of course, staying just off the Vegas Strip at the Trump International Hotel, which he co-owns with Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin. Trump’s property, open since 2008, is an outlier among the heavily unionized hotels and casinos in Vegas. Workers there have spent the past two years attempting to form a bargaining unit under the local Culinary Union, holding a vote in December during which a majority of employees said they wanted union representation. Management at the hotel objected, claiming it hadn’t been a fair election, but a local National Labor Relations Board official recently declared that Trump’s “objections be overruled in their entirety.”
Still, Trump’s management refuses to sit down and negotiate with the new bargaining unit.
Carmen Llarull, a 62-year-old housekeeper, was in the initial band of five workers who organized at the hotel. Early on, the five showed up at work wearing union badges. At the end of the day, Llarull said, management demanded they remove their badges. “We said no, this is my right to organize my co-workers,” she says. So management fired them—but just for one day, since the Culinary Union filed charges. “The next day, they call us to come back to work, telling us it was a mistake.”
“Now we want to sit with Mr. Trump,” she said. Trump threw a thumbs up to the crowd of protestors as he drove by in his SUV, Llarull said, but no sign that he’s ready to strike a deal anytime soon.