Rebney: Union shouldn’t back off on Fertittas

Thursday, May 08, 2014

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 LatinPost.com, 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.”

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