Postal workers Stop Staples campaign stops Staples

The United State Postal Service (USPS) on January 5 told its largest union of employees that the Postal Service was ending a three-year experiment with postal privatization.

USPS in 2014 began collaborating with Staples, the largest retail office supply company in the US, to provide postal services at 500 local Staples stores. The collaboration between USPS and Staples was part of the Postal Services’ Approved Shipper program, a pilot privatization program.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), whose members work in local post offices and sorting centers, launched the Stop Staples campaign to stop the privatization of its members’ jobs. The campaign included a boycott of Staples, the mobilization of union members to spread the word about the privatization of mail services, and demonstrations and rallies at Staples stores.

“We have won the Stop Staples fight,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of APWU, in a broadcast message to members. “We won the fight under the banner that the US mail is not for sale.”

USPS began its Approved Shipper program, which allowed employees at selected retail outlets to provide basic postal services, under the guise of making postal service more convenient to the public.

While the Approved Shipper program was in the planning stages, APWU told management that the union supported making postal services more convenient, but that to ensure that customers receive quality service and that their mail was safe and secure, postal employees should be the ones working in stores to provide mail service.

The Postal Service didn’t agree and went ahead with its privatization experiment.

An internal memo that circulated among Postal Service executives showed that better customer service was not the real reason for the privatization experiment. Its real purpose, according to the memo, was to lower labor costs.

“The deal between the United States Postal Service and Staples was clearly an effort to shift good living-wage, union jobs into non-living wage, non-benefit, non-union jobs,” said Dimondstein.

Privatizing postal jobs was, according to Dimondstein, also a threat to universal postal service in the US and to the security of the mail.

APWU decided that it had to take a stand to protect the integrity of the Postal Service and to protect its members’ jobs.

“If Staples was going to take our work and jobs for private profit, we were going to hit back and affect their bottom line,” said Dimondstein.

The first action of the campaign took place in April 2014 when APWU held demonstrations and rallies at 56  Staples stores in the US.

After the national demonstrations, APWU called for a boycott of Staples. The AFL-CIO added Staples to its boycott list, and the American Federation Teachers and the National Education Association urged their members to avoid Staples when shopping for supplies for their classrooms.

While APWU members continued to leaflet and demonstrate at Staple stores, Staples engineered a merger with its chief competitor Office Depot. The union reacted by opposing the proposed merger.

The union provided the Federal Trade Commission with union sponsored reports detailing the problems that the merger would create.

The Federal Trade Commission blocked the merger, which cost Staples $250 million in penalties that it had to pay Office Depot.

In 2016, the Postal Service Inspector General issued a report on the Staples Approved Shipper program. The report, among other things, found that Staples clerks in many instances were charging the incorrect amount for mail services costing the Postal Service much needed revenue.

The report also found that Staples was “not following mail security requirements.”

Most recently an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Postal Service failed to meet its obligation to bargain with APWU about shifting union members’ jobs to non-union workers.

Finally in the first week of January, the Postal Service told the union that it will discontinue the Approved Shipper program at Staples in February.

Dimondstein said that the union victory had significance beyond restoring work outsourced to Staples.

“In regards to the USPS’s planned retail privatization expansion to dozens of other corporations, those companies have largely backed-off and gotten the message – mess with postal workers and customers and you will have to tangle with the APWU family!” said Dimondstein.

Now that the Staples experiment has ended, Dimondstein urged the Postal Service to work with the union to expand postal service and make it better.

“With the Staples deal out of the way, there is a fresh opportunity for postal management and the APWU to consider the future expansion and improvement of retail operations without these misguided privatization schemes that undermine great service, good jobs, and a strong postal brand,” said Dimondstein.

Momentive workers gain momentum in their fight for a fair contract

Striking workers on January 13 picketed the Manhattan offices of Apollo Global Management, a private equity fund that manages $188 billion worth of investments.

The workers are on strike at Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, New York. Momentive is a chemical company that manufactures silicone products at its Waterford plant.

Apollo Global Management is the principle owner of Momentive. Another billion dollar private equity company–The Blackstone Group–also owns a share of Momentive.

Since the private equity companies took control of Momentive in 2006, workers have endured a series of wage and benefit reductions that began in 2008.

When contract negotiations began in 2016, Apollo demanded more benefit cuts and other concessions, but the 700 members of IUE-CWA Local 81359/81380 said enough is enough and voted to strike if Apollo insisted on more cuts.

One of the striking workers picketing Apollo on Friday was Conrad Lape, who has worked at the Momentive Waterford plant for 14 years.

“When these private equity billionaires came in, Momentive starting cutting wages and benefits,” said Lape, to the Albany Times Union. “While I and my fellow workers are just trying to make sure we have health coverage and the ability to feed our families, these hedge funds are getting even richer off of my family’s financial insecurity. Waterford is a small town, and the entire community is disgusted.”

The strikers have endured a brutal winter on strike to stop Apollo’s wage and benefits race to the bottom.

Until 2006, the Waterford plant was owned by General Electric. GE sold the plant to Apollo and other investors for $3.8 billion, most of which was financed by a bond sale.

While Apollo borrowed the money to finance the buyout, the new company and its workers were the ones responsible for paying the nearly $4 billion debt resulting from the leveraged buyout.

As a result of its heavy debt load, Momentive began cutting expenses. In 2008, it announced that it was reclassifying some jobs, reducing the pay of workers who held those jobs by between 25 percent and 50 percent.

The union fought the pay reduction and won a temporary reprieve in the form of back pay for the workers who lost wages, but the company was eventually able to make the wage reductions permanent.

The company again took aim on its workers in 2013 when it froze their pension benefits.

In 2014, Momentive declared bankruptcy. It emerged from bankruptcy in the same year. The bankruptcy allowed it to shed $3 billion of the company’s debt.

But the company continued to look for ways to cut costs, and when the union began bargaining for a new collective bargaining agreement, the company demanded that the workers pay more for their health insurance and accept less coverage. The company also proposed eliminating health care insurance for retirees.

Those and other concessions that the company demanded gave workers little choice but to strike.

The company has tried to keep production going by hiring replacement workers.

The replacement workers, however, are unfamiliar with the chemical processes that take place at the Waterford plant, which has created safety problems.

The union reports that “since the strike began, there have been 30 chemical spills at the plant, over seven times the rate of spills when the trained workers are on the job.”

The spilled chemicals are toxic, which creates a threat to the safety of the community beyond the plant.

The Times Union reports that because of the threat to the community posed by the spills, New York’s Environmental Conservation Commission plans to take enforcement action against Momentive.

Earlier in the month another state agency, the state comptroller, urged Momentive to settle the strike. The comptroller oversees New York state pension funds that hold investments in Momentive.

On January 9, Momentive and the workers’ unions returned to the bargaining table.

On January 13, the same day that union workers were picketing Apollo, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department announced that it would withdraw its security detail from Momentive, a sign that the local community is growing tired of Momentive’s efforts to wear down its workers.

The union is urging people who want to support the Momentive workers to make a donation to the workers’ solidarity fund and to sign a petition urging Apollo to settle the strike.

Universal basic income experiment begins in Finland

When the new year began, 2000 unemployed workers in Finland were chosen at random to participate in the country’s universal basic income experiment.

Those chosen will receive a basic income of $580 a month from the government instead of their unemployment insurance.

That amount will cover basic living expenses. Unlike those who receive unemployment insurance payments, participants in the basic income experiment  will continue to receive their monthly income regardless of whether they find a job.

The experiment will last for two years, at which time the government will assess the outcomes of the experiment and decide whether to expand the basic income program.

While Finland is the first country to experiment with providing a universal basic income, other local experiments are taking place in Europe.

The Guardian reports that the Italian city of Livorno began last summer to pay 100 of its poorest residents a basic income of €500 a month and expanded that number to another 100 in January.

Five cities in the Netherlands will conduct similar experiments in 2017, and across the Atlantic in Canada, the province of Ontario will begin a basic income program this spring.

The government of Finland is hoping that providing workers with a basic income will help reduce its unemployment rate, currently at 8.1 percent.

The government sees its generous unemployment insurance as a barrier to job entry for many unemployed workers. Simply put, some unemployed workers can make more money from unemployment insurance than they could if they took a low paying job.

The government could reduce unemployment benefits, but such a solution in a country like Finland, which has a strong social democratic tradition, would likely trigger an unacceptable backlash against the right-center coalition government in power now.

Instead, the government chose to experiment with a universal basic income that wouldn’t be affected by a workers’ return to the workforce.

The New York Times reports that start up entrepreneurs in Finland are having trouble filling jobs because they can’t pay wages comparable to wages paid by established companies like Nokia, which has recently laid of thousands of its workers.

The government is hoping that a basic income will encourage workers to take lower paying jobs, or return to school to learn new skills, or start their own small business.

While Finland’s embrace of a universal basic income is mainly a response to the country’s unemployment problem, Yanis Varoufakis says that a universal basic wage is a necessity for dealing with the problems that capitalism is creating.

Varoufakis is a former Finance Minister of Greece, a leading economist, and a prominent voice of the radical left in Europe.

“Basic income is going to be an essential part and a necessary of any attempt to stabilize society and to civilize it,” said Varoufakis in a speech delivered in May at the Future of Work conference in Switzerland.

The problem, according to Varoufakis, is that the rise of finance capital has caused a lot of problems for the working class. There are fewer good paying manufacturing jobs in Europe and North America and more low wage jobs in the service sector.

Many of the low-wage jobs are at risk. At some point in the not-to-distant future, technological advancements will make it possible to automate many of these jobs.

When that happens, the hand-to-mouth existence of low-wage workers who no longer have their jobs will get worse.

Varoufakis argues that current social democratic measures for dealing with unemployment will no longer work.

In Europe and North America, most social insurance programs that help people survive during periods of unemployment or other hardships are paid for by taxes on the working class, but as more and more workers work in low paying jobs those taxes are becoming unaffordable.

When masses of workers start to lose their jobs to automation, workers will find it even more difficult to pay for the social insurance that provides them with a safety net.

Therefore says Varoufakis we need another way to protect workers and another way to pay for it.

Varoufakis advocates a universal basic income that is paid for by reclaiming the public investment in private wealth.

While capital asserts that wealth is generated privately, Varoufakis points to the public investment that has been essential for the development of new technologies that have made wealth creation possible.

Computers, the internet, biomedical technology, and other wealth producing technologies would not have been possible without billions of dollars in investments made by governments.

However, almost all of the returns on these investments have gone into private hands.

To reclaim the public’s share of the wealth it helped create, governments should “enact legislation requiring that a percentage of capital stock from every public offering be channeled into a Commons Capital Depository, with the associated dividends funding a universal basic dividend” that would be used to fund a basic income for all workers, writes Varoufakis.

Doing so would extend some of the advantages of being rich to the working class.

“Would I not want my children to have a small trust fund that shields them from the fear of destitution and allows them to invest fearlessly in their real talents? . . . What is the moral basis for denying all children the same advantage?” writes Varoufakis.

Teamsters turn back threat to their pensions; prepare for more

Before the holidays, scores of retired Teamsters gathered in Washington DC to urge lawmakers to oppose a bill that threatened their retirement security.

They returned home victorious after convincing lawmakers to omit from inclusion in a must-past budget bill the Multiemployer Reform Act of 2016.

This bill, also called the Composite bill, would have allowed pension plans whose members work or worked for multiple employers to create Composite pension plans that shift investment risks onto the backs of individual workers and retirees.

“We stopped another ambush of our retirement security,” said Greg Smith, a Teamster retiree from Akron, Ohio to Teamsters for a Democratic Union, an organization of rank-and-file Teamster members building union power on the job. “(We) did a lot of hard work to make sure the Composite (bill) wouldn’t see the light of day.”

Smith, a member of National United Committees to Protect Pensions, an organization of local committees of Teamster retirees, also said that retirees who didn’t go to Washington DC made phone calls and sent e-mails.

“It’s the grassroots effort we’ve organized that’s making a big difference.” continued Smith.

Multiemployer pension plans are common in industries such as transportation, construction, and hospitality.

Until recently, these pension plans provided a modest yet secure retirement for millions of hard working people.

But some of these plans have hit on hard times. Pension plans for Teamsters have been especially hard hit. First they suffered large financial losses when Wall Street speculation caused the Great Recession and a subsequent market downturn.

As the markets recovered, the pension plans were hit by the long-term effects of political policies enacted nearly 40 years ago. One of those policies was the deregulation of the trucking industry that allowed hundreds of new non-union trucking companies to begin operating.

These non-union trucking companies didn’t contribute to the multiemployer pension funds that protected Teamsters’ retirement, and their race to the bottom wages and benefits put pressure on union trucking companies to lower labor costs, which in many cases led to insufficient pension contributions from employers.

Forty years ago, the US government also began chipping away at laws that protected workers’ rights to join a union. As a result, union organizing became more difficult, and fewer workers were able to join unions, which weakened their ability to protect pension plans like those that protect retired Teamsters.

The result is that some multiemployer pensions like those of the Teamsters are under funded.

Congress has been trying to deal with the under funding problem, but the solutions that it has considered start from two questionable assumptions: first, the interests of business always take priority over the interests of workers and second, retirees and workers must shoulder more of the risks and burdens of saving their pensions.

Two years ago, Congress enacted its first law dealing with the under funding problem. It also was named the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. It allowed under funded multiemployer pension plans to reduce benefits.

Last year, the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund used this law to propose  pension cuts, but a grassroots effort by retired Teamsters stopped the proposed cuts.

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2016 was Congress next effort to deal with the under funding problem. The Composite pensions that it would have authorized are a hybrid cross between traditional pensions and 401(k)-type retirement savings accounts.

Composites are a boon to employers because they make it possible for employers to lower their pension contributions, but they put workers’ retirement security at risk.

Composite plans allow workers to retire with a lifetime annuity, but the amount of that annuity depends on the health of financial markets. If markets take a big hit like they did in 2008 and 2009, the amount of annuity is subject to reduction.

There is another way to deal with the under funding problem. The Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPP), sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, would allow the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to help troubled multiemployer pension plans by paying a small portion of the plans’ benefits in order to prevent benefit cuts.

Financial assistance under KOPP would be paid for by closing two tax loopholes that benefit the very wealthy.

Unlike other proposals, KOPP puts the interest of workers and retirees first, but given the leadership of the new Congress, it is more likely that when Congress turns its attention to dealing with the under funding problem, it will pursue proposals like the Composite bill.

Members of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions are gearing up to fight any new Composite bill that may surface in Congress and to fight other threats to their pension.

“We’re going to continue what we’re doing. We’re going to step up the effort a little bit,” said Mike Walden, chairman of National United Committee to Protect Pension to Channel 26 News in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “We have to get a little more professional, which is why the national committee was formed. And, we have some power on both ends now. But, the majority of our power is still power in numbers.”

Nurses urge Senate to reject Price nomination

Warning that health care in the US will deteriorate badly if the Senate confirms the nomination of Rep. Tom Price to lead the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Nurses United (NNU) a union of 185,000 registered nurses, urged the Senate to reject Price’s nomination.

“If confirmed, it is clear that Rep. Price will pursue policies that substantially erode our nation’s health and security – eliminating health coverage, reducing access, shifting more costs to working people and their families, and throwing our most sick and vulnerable fellow Americans at the mercy of the health care industry,” wrote Deborah Burger and Jean Ross, co-presidents of NNU, to members of the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions.

Burger and Ross cited Rep. Price’s record of supporting steep cuts to Medicaid, the privatization of Medicare, and his opposition to key features of the Affordable Health Care Act designed to make health care coverage accessible to low- and middle-income workers, who don’t have health care coverage through their employer.

Rep. Price’s vision of what US health care should look like is embodied in a piece of unsuccessful legislation that he sponsored–the Empowering Patients First Act. As leader of the health and human services department, he will be positioned to lead efforts to realize his vision.

His bill was first introduced in 2009 as a possible alternative to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and has been introduced in but not passed by each subsequent session of Congress.

In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed Price’s bill and determined that ten years after the legislation was enacted 2 million fewer people would have health insurance than before its was enacted.

Under Price’s plan, health care insurance would be too costly for many working class people.

The bill’s main feature is a tax credit for those who purchase health insurance. Unfortunately, the tax credit is insufficient.

The tax credit would be $2000 a year for individuals or $4000 for a married couple. Families with a child or children would receive a tax credit of $500 for each of the first two children.

A family of four then would receive about $400 a month in tax credits to cover health insurance premiums, far short of what it cost to pay for a health care plan health care plan that provides even a minimal amount of protection for families.

Currently under Obamacare, insurance premiums for a silver plan in the state Texas, a plan that pays 70 percent of health care expenses, on average costs $276 a month.

The total cost of that premium is $785, but the family is eligible for federal tax credit worth $509.

If Price’s plan were in effect, that same family would pay $369 a month after receiving the tax credit, a 34 percent increase over the amount that the same family pays under Obamacare.

Price’s plan also would make it more difficult for people with a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes to get health care coverage.

Currently Obamacare requires insurers to accept customers who have a pre-existing condition. Price’s plan doesn’t. Instead, it would provide the the states financial assistance to help pay for high risk insurance pools through which people with pre-existing conditions could purchase insurance.

But experience shows that insurance purchased through high risk pools is expensive and out of reach for many.

According to a study published by the Center for American Progress in 2008 before Obamacare became law, “We already know that existing state-based high risk pools can’t provide affordable coverage for nearly enough of the medically needy who have no other options.

“High risk pools have been around for over 30 years and currently exist in 35 states, but they only cover about 207,000 Americans. The biggest barrier to enrollment is cost. High risk pools are inevitably expensive because all of the enrollees have medical conditions that could potentially result in costly medical bills.”

There are other barriers to coverage in Price’s legislation. Low-income workers who currently qualify for Medicaid would no longer do so under Price’s plan, and Price’s legislation would reduce payments to hospitals that treat people who are poor and don’t have health care insurance.

Price also supports a practice called “balanced billing,” in which doctors and hospitals bill patients for charges that exceed the amount paid by insurance plans. These charges can be and often are quite expensive.

Medicare currently bans balanced billing, but Price supports lifting this ban.

“(Lifting the ban on balanced billing) would greatly increase provider and physician revenues,” writes Ryan Cooper in The Week, and expose many seniors to “medical debt induced bankruptcy.”

In calling for the Senate to reject Rep. Price’s nomination, the nurses union also called on the country’s leaders to take steps to insure that all Americans have access to health care.

“Instead of rolling back the protections we currently have, NNU has long advocated that we strengthen, improve, and expand our public Medicare system to cover all Americans,” wrote Burger and Ross in their letter to senators. “That is the type of system in place throughout the developed world that is the best, most cost effective way to guarantee health care for all, reduce overall costs, and sharply cut administrative waste that is endemic to private insurance.”

“As nurses know from the patients we care for every day, without health, there is no security. We cannot risk the very real consequences of Rep. Price’s reckless disregard for the health of our patients and our nation,” Burger and Ross concluded.

Retailers agree to end on-call scheduling

Six national retailers recently agreed to stop using on-call scheduling, which requires employees to call typically one to two hours before their shift is to begin to learn whether they must report to work.

If employees who call in are not required to work for that day, they receive no compensation.

On-call scheduling creates a number of difficulties that interfere with workers’ away-from-work lives.

“On-call scheduling makes it impossible for retail workers to plan their lives,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW (RWDSU). “We must all work together to ensure that workers . . . throughout the country have stable and predictable schedules that allow them to arrange for childcare, further their education, and provide for their families.”

The six retailers that agreed an end to on-call scheduling are Aeropostale, Carter’s, David’s Tea, Disney, PacSun, and Zumiez.

The six retailers made their decision after receiving letters from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and the attorney general from Washington DC.

The letters sought information about the companies’ scheduling practices to determine whether they were in violation of state call-in pay regulations that require companies to pay workers for four hours of work or the hours for which they were scheduled to work, whichever is less, whenever the worker calls and is told not to report to work.

“On-call shifts are not a business necessity and should be a thing of the past,” said Schneiderman. “People should not have to keep the day open, arrange for child care, and give up other opportunities without being compensated for their time. I am pleased that these companies have stepped up to the plate and agreed to stop using this unfair method of scheduling.”

Schneiderman said that the letter was a collaborative effort among state attorneys general who were concerned about the adverse impact that on-call scheduling is having on the lives of workers and their families.

“Unpredictable work schedules take a toll on employees,” said the letter to the retailers. “Without the security of a definite work schedule, workers who must be ‘on call’ have difficulty making reliable childcare and elder-care arrangements, encounter obstacles in pursuing an education, and in general experience higher incidences of adverse health effects, overall stress, and strain on family life than workers who enjoy the stability of knowing their schedules reasonably in advance.”

In all, 15 companies received the letter. Of those, nine responded saying that they had already ended on-call scheduling or had never used it.

“Today, we are seeing retailers across America take steps to curb unnecessary and unfair on-call scheduling,” said Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy. “We are especially glad that employers like Disney and Carter’s, whose brands promote putting families first, will stop using on-call shifts that are notorious for wreaking havoc on families’ balance and puts undue stress on children. It’s impossible to arrange for childcare with just a few hours’ notice, and so it’s good to see thousands more working parents no longer have to scramble to work enough hours to support their families.”

Workers at two Trump hotels settle labor disputes

Union members at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas won their first union contract, and workers at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC won the right to conduct an organizing campaign without management interference.

The two separate agreements with the management of the two hotels were announced on December 21.

In Las Vegas food and beverage and housekeepers, who one year ago voted to join UNITE HERE Culinary Workers Local 226, reached an agreement with hotel management on their first union contract that raises wages and provides a pension, health care benefits, and job protections.

“This agreement is the result of tremendous efforts of the parties’ leadership teams. Both the Culinary Union and the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas extend their congratulations to each other and each look forward to a mutually productive and peaceful labor-management partnership,” reads a statement issued by Local 226.

While the statement suggests that the two parties are on the road toward building a mutually respectful relationship, the history of the workers’ struggle for a union suggests that the road to enlightened labor relations at the Trump hotel may be a bit rocky.

Workers at Trump Las Vegas began talking about organizing a union in 2014. That talk quickly became a full-fledged organizing campaign, and for a year, pro-union workers with the help of union organizers talked one-on-one to other workers about the benefits of having a union.

They told their fellow workers about the 35,000 union workers at other Las Vegas hotels who were paid better wages and had pensions, excellent health care benefits, and job protections.

Some union supporters wore buttons to work to express their support for the union.

Management reacted with a campaign of its own. The Trump Las Vegas hotel, which is co-0wned by billionaire Phillip Ruffin, spent $560,000 to prevent workers from organizing a union.

In June 2014, five workers were suspended for wearing union buttons to work and talking to other workers about joining the union.

A year later, they were awarded back pay for lost wages after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that hotel management had violated their right to speak freely about joining a union.

The union filed other charges of unfair labor practices including allegations of physical assaults against union supporters, verbal abuse, intimidation, and threats.

In August 2015, the NLRB ruled that Trump Las Vegas acted illegally to prevent workers from joining a union by suppressing their free speech, illegally interrogating employees, threatening them with reprisals for supporting the union, and in one instance, physically assaulting union supporters.

Things didn’t get any easier after workers voted in December 2015 to join Local 226. Hotel management refused to bargain with the union for a first contract.

Eleven months after the workers voted to unionize, the NLRB ruled that Trump Las Vegas Hotel management violated the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to bargain with the union

Hotel management reacted by appealing the decision rather than negotiating.

However, management’s attitude toward the union made an abrupt and unexpected about-face, and in December, the two sides announced an agreement on the workers’ first collective bargaining agreement.

The turn around came as President-elect Trump was facing intense scrutiny about his business holdings and the potential conflicts of interest that would exist between those holdings and his responsibilities as President of the United States.

Among the possible conflicts of interest were his shares of ownership in the Trump hotels in Las Vegas and Washington DC that were both subject to unfair labor practices investigations being carried out by the NLRB.

The New York Times reports that Trump and his transition team have been working vigorously to create an image that no conflicts of interest will exist after he becomes President.

To do so they have been trying to resolve some of the most blatant examples of potential conflicts of interest, including Trump’s labor relations problems in Las Vegas and Washington DC.

As a result, the Trump hotels in these two cities moved quickly to settle their labor problems.

In Washington DC that meant reaching an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 25, which has been helping workers at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC organize a union.

Local 25 announced that the agreement will allow a union organizing drive to proceed without management interference.

“(The agreement) satisfies the union’s goal to represent and ensure strong working conditions for hospitality workers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area,” said John Boardman, president of Local 25.  “We look forward to pursuing a mutually productive partnership with Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.”