Dana White has said an impasse in legalizing New York MMA stems from a fight between the UFC's co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, and a Culinary Union based in Las Vegas. The Fertitta brothers own Las Vegas based Station Casinos chain, which is non union.
"If they get Station Casinos, that's another $10.8 million a year to them," White said.
On the legislative front, the union has lobbied vigorously to prevent the UFC from staging events in New York. This past week, legislators in Connecticut cited union opposition as one reason a bill to legalize and regulate the sport didn't go up for a vote in the 2012 legislative session.
White attributes all of it to the union, calling them "gangsters." He said the stakes of their push in Las Vegas ensure the activity will continue.
"That's why these dirtbags are so relentless and won't stop," he said.
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An editorial last month by the Las Vegas Review Journal characterized the union's action in Nevada as verging on harassment, including demonstrating at a high school fund raiser and turning away conventioneers. All the while, Station has awarded over $1,700,000,000 in construction projects to approximately 150 companies that use union workers.
When Station Casinos Vice President of Construction Joe Haley found out last week that the Southern Nevada Building & Construction Trades Council has asked its membership to boycott Station Casinos properties, he says he was "completely blindsided."
The undated missive to members was signed by Building & Construction Trades Secretary-Treasurer Darren Enns. "It's true that a lot of work at Station Casinos went to union workers, but a lot of work went to non-union companies as well," Mr. Enns said Wednesday. Unions are "being attacked across the country and need to stick together," Mr. Enns says. "We would like to see Station Casinos settle their dispute with the Culinary."
But what precisely is the dispute between the casino company and Culinary Local 226?
The hospitality union and its affiliated Bartenders Local 165 say they've been trying to "organize" roughly 5,000 of Station Casinos' 13,000 employees for several years. But the verb is a bit misleading.
Workers have a right to unionize, and labor peace can be valuable to the city's economic recovery. But the solution needn't involve anyone contacting out-of-town conventioneers scheduled to visit Station properties and urging them to stay away, as the Culinary has been doing -- potentially damaging the entire local economy.
The Culinary stunt Thursday night -- holding a rally at Red Rock Resort at the same time the property was hosting "The Night of the Gael," an annual fundraiser for Bishop Gorman High School -- was a particularly offensive move designed to do nothing but harass and intimidate.
Nor is it clear how these new calls for boycotts by fellow union members get the Culinary any closer to the vote required to determine whether Station employees want to go union.
All the Culinary needs to do is collect signatures from 30 percent of the employees in any potential bargaining group, and then ask the National Labor Relations Board to schedule a secret-ballot unionization election at that property. The fact that union officials have thus far declined to exercise this option -- resorting instead to these polarizing guerrilla tactics of economic intimidation -- speaks volumes about how they believe they would fare in such a vote.
The very construction workers being asked to boycott Station properties could find themselves with less work in future as a result of these tactics.
The unions apparently believe strong-arm tactics designed to get more people paying union dues to pad executive salaries are more important than whether existing union members continue to find work.
Because this isn't about jobs, wages or working conditions, at all. It's about being allowed to generate union dues out of local paychecks, without even giving the workers a vote in the matter.
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