Fertitta: Culinary union using women’s groups as pawns

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Nevada-based 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 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, and the world, it has for years been a target of the union.

A stock tactic the union employs is to create a fake organization, purporting to represent a decent group with decent intents, that is in reality something very different. The group does not care a whit about MMA figures cursing in media or any of the other covers they hid behind. They just want to fill union coffers.

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;
•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;
•Demanded 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.

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 using swear words, and Joe Rogan of calling someone ‘cunty’ on the UG. And the union has no issue – what so ever – with the UFC.

The logic behind the actions is difficult to fathom. The majority of steps taken thus far are comical. The main exception is supporting anti MMA efforts in New York, which hurts fans and fighters, the economy of New York state, and every employee at Madison Square Garden, a union shop.

Their latest campaign was an anti-MMA press conference in New York state, held as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is further warming to the idea of legalizing professional mixed martial arts bouts in the Empire State.

“I think we need jobs,” explained Cuomo during an appearance on public radio’s ‘The Capitol Pressroom.’ “I think we need jobs. I think we need economic activity, especially in upstate New York. I think this is a major endeavor that is televised, that is happening all over the country at this point. You’re not going to stop it from happening. And I’m interested in the economic potential for the state.”

On the other side of the issues stands state Sen. Liz Krueger, who introduced an MMA moratorium bill Friday. Krueger represents much of Manhattan’s east side.

“Due to the violent nature of mixed martial arts and the surprisingly high incidence of unchallenged sexism and misogyny displayed by certain fighters, commentators and other public figures associated with this sport, the prospect of legalization in New York State raises legitimate concerns about the increased exposure of our children to this new and potentially very negative influence,” stated the bill.

“it’s a sport where you are visually perceived to choke to uncousciousness your opponent, to draw blood from your opponent,” said Kreuger. That follows none of the rules of good sportsmenlike behavior. There is almost a model of supportive, free-for-all violence and real harm is done.”

Zuffa Chairman/CEO Lorenzo Fertitta explained that the press conference was actually organized by the Vegas union.

“It’s actually kind of sad,” said Fertitta. “These women’s organizations and women’s groups stand for great things … yet they are being used as a pawn by the Culinary Union.”

Krueger, D-Manhattan, acknowledged that someone on her staff was in touch with the Culinary Union as the press conference was planned.

The fate of the bill rests with the Assembly, as the Senate passed it again this year, and Cuomo appears inclined to support it.