After marching into the clubhouse of the Trump National Golf Course in Los Angeles on September 27, members of UNITE HERE announced at the ritzy venue that the union was calling for a boycott of all businesses owned by Donald Trump and all businesses in which he has invested.
Two days later and four hundred miles up the road, UNITE HERE members in San Francisco rallied at the Bank of America building at 555 Californina Street.
“Trump is co-owner of 555 California St in San Francisco’s Financial District,” said a message on UNITE HERE’s Boycott Trump Facebook page. “We urge you to not patronize this Trump-related business until Trump Las Vegas complies with its obligation under federal law.”
The boycott stems from Trump’s refusal to negotiate a first contract with UNITE HERE’s Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas.
Housekeepers, bar workers, kitchen staff, and other workers at Trump International Hotel in December 2015 voted to join Local 226 in a union representation election.
Instead of negotiating a first collective bargaining agreement after the workers voted to unionize as required by law, the hotel’s management used appeals to the National Labor relations Board to avoid negotiating with the workers.
After the NLRB dismissed the appeals, management continued to stonewall the workers.
The stonewalling tactics led UNITE HERE to call for the boycott.
“Enough is enough,” said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor. “While Donald Trump waged an indefensible anti-worker and anti-immigrant presidential campaign, the workers at his Las Vegas hotel fought for dignity and respect in their workplace. They voted to unionize, they won, and now the law says Trump must negotiate.”
The workers’ union election victory was a long, hard-fought struggle. The organizing campaign began in 2014, and the workers had to overcome an aggressive anti-union campaign by management.
The hotel’s management hired the union avoidance firm Seyforth Shaw to fight the workers’ union drive.
During the almost two years that it took to secure a union election victory, workers endured threats, intimidation, a physical assault, and illegal surveillance.
Management implemented policies that prohibited free speech on the job to keep workers from talking about a union.
Some workers were suspended for wearing their union buttons to work, and some were fired for supporting the union.
The union managed to get the suspensions and firings reversed and back pay for those who were forced off their jobs.
While the organizing campaign was going on, the National Labor Relations Board filed three unfair labor practices complaints against Trump’s management.
After the workers won their union election, Trump’s management appealed and asked the NLRB to throw out the results.
Finally in July 2016, the NLRB dismissed Trump’s appeal, ruling that the appeal lacked merit.
Despite their lack of success at nullifying the results of the election, Trump’s hotel management continues to refuse to bargain with the union.
Having a union and a fair contract is crucial for the workers who have fought so long and hard for dignity and respect.
The Trump hotel is one of the few non-union hotels in Las Vegas. Trump Hotel workers in Las Vegas make $3.00 an hour less than their union counterparts. They also pay as much as $260 a month for health insurance. Union hotel workers don’t pay anything.
“We’re not second class workers,” said Eleuteria Blanco, a guestroom attendant at the Trump Hotel as she explained why she is continuing to fight for a good contract that will bring her up to the same level as the other 57,000 hotel workers who belong to Local 226.
Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Local 226’s secretary treasurer urged other workers and anybody who believes in fair play for workers to stand with the Trump Hotel workers.
“After a disgraceful anti-union campaign against their own workers, the hotel still refuses to negotiate with their employees,” said Arguello-Kline, “We call on allies and workers to stand in solidarity in a national boycott until Donald Trump, the ‘Great Negotiator,’ comes to the table.”