Donald Trump’s appeal lies in his image as the bold, no-BS boss who “tells it like it is” and cuts a fair deal. But the famously blunt tycoon-turned-candidate has been curiously reticent in his private business dealings lately, specifically when it comes to the hotel housekeepers and maintenance staffers who have been chasing his campaign itinerary in hopes of meeting with him to negotiate a union contract.
There’s unfinished business at his Las Vegas hotel, 64 stories of Trump-brand glamour in the casino-economy capital where he celebrated a primary victory last month. Trump International’s owner, Trump Ruffin, is in a legal battle with Unite Here, which represents hospitality and culinary workers on the Las Vegas Strip. Trump’s workers have already cast their ballot to unionize their workplace, with a majority of the roughly 520-member bargaining unit voting to unionize last December. But they can’t seal the deal because their boss refuses to recognize the results of their democratic election.
Trump Ruffin has stalled the unionization process with an ongoing National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dispute over claims of unfair labor practices throughout the union campaign. But a hearing officer recently ruled in favor of the workers, and the union is confident their clear majority vote will ultimately be certified. Trump Ruffin has appealed the case, however, and the next hearing is scheduled for April.
According to Unite Here, Trump’s Las Vegas workers typically earn about $3.33 less per hour than their unionized counterparts and pay far more for healthcare and other benefits compared with the low-cost health and pension plans the union offers. At Trump’s hotel, hourly base wages for the largely immigrant frontline workforce can range from $9 to $18 (a living wage in the region for an adult with a child is about $23 per hour).
In the legal fight that stands between the workers and a union, the latest filing involves charges that Trump Ruffin systematically intimidated pro-union workers, through employment discrimination, and the use of consultants and supervisory staff to dissuade and deter their campaign.