Employees Sue MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
Hotel management does union’s dirty work

September/October 2000 Issue

Las Vegas, Nev. – Foundation attorneys have filed unfair labor charges against the management at the largest hotel in the world, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, for interfering with the right of hotel employees to rid themselves of unwanted union “representation.”

Foundation attorneys filed the federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of hotel employee Jane Reidhead after MGM management sent two letters to employees urging them to reject all efforts to throw out, or decertify, Culinary Workers Union (CWU) Local 226 and Bartenders Union (BU) Local 185. The employees want to remove an unwanted union as the so-called “exclusive bargaining representative” at their place of employment.

“MGM Grand Hotel and Casino management is shamelessly carrying the union’s water,” said Randy Wanke, Director of Legal Information for the Foundation..

Union forced “representation” on employees

A few years ago, MGM management and local union officials forced hotel employees to accept CWU and BU “representation” without a vote.

Facing a ground swell of support for decertification, MGM management acted as the union’s toady by sending a coercive letter to hotel employees stating opposition to decertification. This illegal action violates employees’ rights by implying that employees who exercise their right to actively oppose, or refrain from supporting the unions, will be discriminated against..

“The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino calls itself the ‘City of Entertainment,’ but when it comes to how it has treated its employees in this case, it could more aptly be named the ‘City of Shake Downs,’” said Wanke.

CWU has history of mob ties

When Reidhead and Foundation Director of Legal Information Randy Wanke appeared on a local radio show to expose MGM’s intimidation campaign, union militants acted quickly to flood the phone lines in an effort to drown out the truth. That type of intimidation tactic is to be expected from an organization with such a sad history of violence and mob control.

In a 1980 NBC report, the CWU was described as “completely dominated by organized crime, a domination made possible by the Chicago Mafia’s control of top officers.” A Senate subcommittee in 1985 charged that organized criminal interests had exerted “substantial influence” over International Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (IHREU) affairs since 1973. CWU Local 226 is one of the largest unions affiliated with the IHREU. In 1986, the Presidential Commission on Organized Crime stated, “These four international unions - The Longshoremen, Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Teamsters and Laborers - have each been found by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be substantially influenced and/or controlled by organized crime.”

Employees fight for their freedom

This case is another example of how union officials use employers to force their unwanted representation on employees. When employers — under pressure created by federal labor law — do the union bosses’ dirty work, employees are left with the feeling that they are standing alone with no one to protect their rights. Thankfully, with the help of its supporters, the Foundation will continue to stand with these hardworking Americans.


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