Rebney: Union shouldn't back off on Fertittas


The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has for years failed in its attempts to unionize the Station group of hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. Station Casinos, named multiple times to Fortune's 100 best Companies to Work For, is owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who are also majority owners of the UFC.

Station Casino's has agreed to a union vote via private ballot. Public voting in the USA is done in private, so that people can vote their conscience, without fear of intimidation. However, the union has insisted on a card-check vote, a public statement of yes or no.

Although the UFC has nothing to do with culinary workers, and indeed provides a vast amount of union work at arenas across the nation, the Culinary Union has taken a series of comical steps to attack the UFC. Their usual method is to make up an organization, set up a website, and then use the organization to attack the UFC.

Other wacky steps include:
•Launching a website complaining that UFC President Dana White swears a lot, and that Joe Rogan swore on the UG;
•Complaining that a local gay and lesbian community center is honoring the UFC;
•Demanding that OTM cut ties with the UFC;
•Petitioning Toys"R"Us CEO Gerald Storch to pull all UFC related toys from the company's stores;
•Launching an online petition calling on FOX to back away from a deal to broadcast UFC events;
•Demanding Anheuser-Busch pull its Bud Light sponsorship of the UFC;
•Supporting wacky MMA legislation in California;
•Calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate UFC parent company Zuffa, which the union accused of using monopolistic tactics to thwart competition from other MMA promoters; and,
•Sought to bar minors from UFC Boston.

Where organized labor once lifted millions of exploited workers into the middle class, the Culinary Union is now shaming itself with endless online trolling, the province of angry teenagers.

Every effort was a failure, but one - the union has used allies in New York through parent company UNITE HERE to keep mixed martial arts unregulated in the Empire State. MMA is of course regulated in every other State and Province in North America.

In an interview with, Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney took a contrary stance on the issue.

"Every state has approved mixed martial arts. They run shows just about anywhere. You've got shows that generate revenue everywhere -- from hotel rooms, to restaurants, to the actual fights. It's regulated appropriately by every state commission in the country. The New York State Athletic commission is one of the top athletic commissions in the country and would be able to regulate the sports at a drop of a hat."

"I think it's pretty obvious to everyone what it really is, and it's funny that more people don't state it for what it is. The unions have a tremendous amount of power and influence in the state of New York, and the Fertittas have a horrible relationship with unions. That is obviously the crux of the problem and the motivation between the lack of MMA in the largest media market in the entire United States. And for people to shy away from it or try to position it as something else is just inaccurate. And that's what it is, that's the problem at its core."

"I've stayed out of it, to a large extent, because I recognize that the issues that are prohibiting the sport here are so much bigger than my perspective or my opinion. I'm the chairman and CEO of the world's second largest MMA organization, largest tournament MMA organization in the world, an organization that is consistently beating the UFC -- Spike versus FS1 -- in the ratings. We're climbing very quickly from that perspective. I could spend 20 hours a day [in New York] and it's not going to move the needle in terms of getting sport into the state of New York."

"Anytime someone calls me to ask me, 'hey can you do this, can you speak on that,' I'd be more than happy to. But I'm smart enough to know that unions are very important to this country. They play too vital of a role in people's lives for them to back off, nor do I think they should back off in their fight that they are putting up against the Fertittas."

Read entire article...

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tags: UFC   Bellator   Bjorn Rebney   Dana White   Lorenzo Fertitta   

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Recent Comments »

Stache site profile image  

5/12/14 11:14 PM by Stache

So when can we expect Bellator's union to be certified?

Fed site profile image  

5/12/14 10:57 PM by Fed

Rebney sticking up for the fighters

Bobby Lupo site profile image  

5/12/14 7:52 AM by Bobby Lupo

The rich in Europe do not pay this absurd top tax rate in reality. It's easily avoidable if they're clever, and the rich are usually clever.  In the US until Reagan top income earners were taxed at aimilar rates in the US, but no one actually paid it.

If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much site profile image  

5/12/14 1:40 AM by If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much

Nah you just funnel all the money through multiple companies. Only person who would get more money is accountants and attorneys.

Oontyex site profile image  

5/12/14 1:37 AM by Oontyex

1) the culinary union has been actively trying to hurt mma, not help it2) if the best a boring fighter can do is abuse the scoring criteria to squeak out uneventful decisions, why should the UFC include that on their card when it turns away fans/ negatively effects buy rates of their product.

NorthFromHere site profile image  

5/12/14 12:40 AM by NorthFromHere


Corey site profile image  

5/12/14 12:01 AM by Corey

I formed my opinion based on my experience as a Steward, Chief Steward, Executive Board Member, and being on the contract negotiating committee. Most of my day to day union business consisted of getting oxygen thief fuck ups their jobs back or out of trouble. The main focus of the leadership was to keep the dues coming in. They would talk a good game to everyone but behind closed doors lay down for the company any chance they got. I have news for you the Unions are nothing more than an industry themselves.

dubate site profile image  

5/10/14 9:14 PM by dubate

Not really an applicable comparison, both countries combined GDP was around $4.2 trillion. USA's was over $15 trillion. Now if solving the problem of a lack of a middle class through wealth redistribution is your thing (I'm not opposed) France does tax all earnings over $1.3 million @ 75%. That would go much further than a 35 hour work week.

jdb2414 site profile image  

5/10/14 8:40 PM by jdb2414

The only problem with this particular union, in my experience, is the lack of performance based compensation. If you want to work your ass off on something and be rewarded're fucked. Again, in my experience, it rewarded laziness and discouraged hard work. And doing it for the dignity only lasts so long. I had to get the fuck out of there.I do like that they represent people that wouldn't otherwise have a voice. If all was right (not just "legal")in the world,the Fertittas wouldn't have anything to do with those casinos. They gamed the system to get a sweet deal. They sure as fuck better be taking care of their workers. I don't think the union is necessary for that to happen, though.

CindyO site profile image  

5/10/14 4:37 PM by CindyO

Oh, good Lord! If you have been following this "battle" then you should realize the CULINARY UNION has NOTHING to do with MMA so what in the world are you talking about???  Are you saying the CU is going to help the fighters organize and get fair wages or something? lol     Cindy