- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Two Trump hotels reached critical agreements with their workers on Wednesday, following a bitter fight that played out during President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign.
In Las Vegas, around 500 workers at the Trump International Hotel will get union contracts for the first time. According to a press release from Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the four-year contract, which begins on January 1, will provide food and beverage and housekeeping employees with annual wage increases, pensions, family health care, and job security.
This concludes a year-long struggle that began when workers voted to unionize last December. Over the past 12 months, employees said Trump International Hotel – which the Trump Organization has a 50% stake in – had refused to acknowledge or negotiate with the union.
“He says he’s a big negotiator, but [Trump] doesn’t negotiate with the workers,” Elsabeth Moges, who has worked as a Trump International housekeeper in Las Vegas for four years, told Business Insider in November.
Also on Wednesday, Unite Here Local 25 and the recently-opened Trump International Hotel Washington, DC, announced they had reached an agreement to permit an orderly organizing campaign for employees, opening the door for workers to unionize. The Trump hotel in DC in owned and operated by the Trump Organization.
“Unite Here Local 25 is an important partner in Washington, DC,” Eric Danziger, CEO of Trump Hotels, said in a statement. “We share mutual goals with the Union, as we both desire to ensure outstanding jobs for the employees, while also enabling the hotel to operate successfully in a competitive environment, and to establish a reputation as one of the finest hotels in the world.”
- AP Photo/John Locher, File
Unite Here, the national hospitality workers’ union, emerged as a major critic of Donald Trump throughout his campaign.
Due to Trump International’s ongoing refusal to negotiate with Las Vegas employees, the union launched a national boycott of Trump Organization businesses in September. Actions in the weeks leading up to the election included staging a protest at the grand opening of the Trump International in Washington, DC and organizing taco trucks to form a “wall” outside of the Trump International in Las Vegas.
Now that Trump has been elected, his relationship with the hotels and their workers present a whole new set of problems and potential for conflicts of interest.
The Kuwaiti embassy recently moved the location of a February event from the Four Seasons to Trump International Washington, DC, with liberal website ThinkProgress reporting that the change was driven by political pressure. It’s a move that ThinkProgress says is part of a “larger effort by the Trump Organization to lure lucrative diplomats to the Trump International Hotel,” allowing the business – which Trump says he will hand over to his adult sons – to profit from the Trump presidency.
Trump’s hotels also stand to benefit from legislation he promotes and people he appoints during as president.
For example, the National Labor Relations Board played a major role in forcing Trump International Las Vegas to negotiate with its workers, certifying the union and dismissing hotel claims that the vote to unionize had been unfair. Now, Trump is in the position to fill two vacant seats in the five-member board immediately, and replace another member in December 2017.
Trump’s history with the NLRB has raised concerns that he will appoint members who will protect the Trump Organization’s business interests at the expense of workers’ rights.