Crazy Culinary Union should tap out

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

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, frequently named to Fortune’s 100 best Companies to Work For, is owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who are also majority owners of the UFC.

Although the UFC has nothing to do with culinary workers, and indeed provides a vast amount of union work at arenas across the nation, it has become a target of the union.

Anti-UFC steps the union has taken include:
•Backed anti-MMA legislation in New York;
•Called 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;
•Launched a website complaining that UFC President Dana White swears a lot;
•Launched an online petition calling on FOX to back away from a deal to broadcast UFC events;
•Demand Anheuser-Busch pull its Bud Light sponsorship of the UFC;
•Supported wacky MMA legislation in California;
•Demanded the Marine Corps cut ties with the UFC;
•Demanded that OTM cut ties with the UFC; and
•Asked FOX to remove UFC lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Abel Trujillo from their UFC on FOX 5 fight for having a record.
•Petitioned Toys”R”Us CEO Gerald Storch to pull all UFC related toys from the company’s stores.
•Sought to bar minors from UFC Boston;
•Complained that a local gay and lesbian community center is honoring the UFC.

Where organized labor once lifted millions of exploited workers into the middle class, the Culinary Union is now spending member dues to accuse Dana White of swearing. And the union has no issue what so ever with the UFC.

Now, in a editorial, the Las Vegas Review Journal has called for an end to the ‘unwarranted attacks.’

Culinary should tap out

For an organization whose membership includes thousands of food service industry employees, Culinary Local 226 doesn’t seem to understand who butters its workers’ bread.

As reported by the Review-Journal’s Yesenia Amaro on Tuesday, the Culinary union sent a letter to the Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada, asking the organization to reconsider honoring the Ultimate Fighting Championship as corporation of the year. The letter was yet another Culinary attack on UFC majority owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, who also happen to own Station Casinos.

The letter said “the UFC has a history of tolerating offensive comments by fighters and company representatives, including anti-gay and misogynistic remarks.” But this grievance is really about Station Casinos’ nonunion properties and the Fertittas’ insistence on a secret-ballot vote to organize them. To try to make the Fertittas cave to card check, the Culinary intimidates anyone who does business with them or attempts to recognize anything tied to the Fertittas in a positive fashion.

Contrary to Culinary’s statements, the UFC has “had an impressive presence at significant events, and they have ensured that this participation has included the highest levels of leadership of UFC,” said Raymond Wilmer, president of the center’s board of directors. To Culinary’s credit, center Director of Communications Ryan Marquardt said the union has also been supportive. The UFC has donated $200,000 to the center. Mr. Marquardt said the Culinary has not made such a financial contribution.

Union spokeswoman Yvanna Cancela didn’t return calls or email from Ms. Amaro seeking comment, which isn’t surprising. Union leaders can’t possibly defend their strategy. The Culinary would do well to remember that the UFC’s huge mixed martial arts events on the Strip put big money into union members’ pockets and, by extension, the union itself. Kudos to the Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada for refusing to rescind the honor. Enough of the unwarranted attacks, particularly over noteworthy charitable acts.

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