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Howard Stutz

Culinary union calls for contract talks after Trump workers vote for union

8 December 2015

A majority of workers at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas voted for union representation, setting up potential contract talks between the nongaming hotel owned by billionaire Donald Trump and Las Vegas's largest labor group.

Culinary Local 226 said Monday a majority of the hotel's 500 employees eligible in the union's bargaining units voted in favor of union representation during elections sponsored by the National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 4-5. The NLRB confirmed the vote took place.

The Culinary called for immediate contract talks between the hotel and the labor group, which includes Bartenders Local 165.

"Trump Las Vegas should recognize the workers' vote immediately and sit down with us to negotiate a contract as soon as possible," said Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline.

Trump International Vice President Brian Baudreau was unavailable to comment, said a hotel spokeswoman.

The vote comes after the union focused attention on the hotel this summer, holding several protests in front of the building and drawing attention from Trump's high-profile GOP presidential campaign, making use of his catch-phrase, "Make America Great Again."

The Culinary has held several events in front of the hotel off the Strip along Fashion Show Drive.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, a former governor of Maryland, participated with the union in an August press conference. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton rallied with workers in October before the next day's nationally televised debate at the Wynn Las Vegas.

The vote comes a week after workers at the Trump International Hotel Toronto ratified their first contract with UNITE HERE, the Culinary's parent organization. Trump Toronto workers voted in favor of union representation nine months ago.

Last week, the Culinary and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas reached agreement on a four-year contract for the hotel's nongaming workforce. The Culinary and Cosmopolitan were at odds since the property opened in 2010. Talks were renewed this year after an affiliate of the Blackstone Group spent $1.73 billion to acquire the Strip resort.

In a statement, the Culinary said other nongaming hotels on the Strip with union benefits include Four Seasons and the four Hilton Grand Vacations properties.

The move comes a week before Trump arrives in Las Vegas to participate in the nationally televised GOP presidential debate at The Venetian.

In August, Eric Trump, Trump's son and executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization, said the hotel has more than 650 valued employees who time after time have rejected union organization.

Trump's company owns the 64-story hotel and condominium tower, which opened in 2008. Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin is a partner in the property.