Topics: Labor Unions

Las Vegas union suspends protests after insult-laden video emerges

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Las Vegas,Analysis,Nevada

A Las Vegas union briefly suspended protests against the Cosmopolitan resort and casino after a video displayed activists repeatedly insulted tourists entering the hotel, calling them "losers, "fat" and "retards," among other epithets.

The video showed an Oct. 12 protest organized Culinary Local 226 in front of the building. As tourists ignore the protesters and enter, two people with megaphones hurl insults at them.

On multiple occasions in the video, a tourist was called a "beached whale" or a "fat pig." The activists also berated people for bringing their kids along, calling them "deadbeat dads," "pieces of trash" and "bad parents." Another tourist reported that his wife was called "bitch."

The video was taken by the Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs, a project of the pro-business Workforce Fairness Institute.

"Not denouncing these protests amounts to condoning them,” said APNJ spokesman Ron Futrell. “These guerrilla tactics are beyond deplorable. No one deserves to be treated this way, especially not Las Vegas tourists."

Local 226 represents workers at the Cosmopolitan and has been in contract talks with the resort's owner, Deutsche Bank, for two years.

In addition to disputes over wages and benefits, the union wants a provision guaranteeing the contract will carry over to a new owner should the resort be sold.

A spokesman for the union told the Washington Examiner that the protests would resume Nov. 1 and disputed that the pause was related to the video. She declined further comment.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal regarding the Oct. 12 incident, the union said that "nothing is going to stop [its members] from securing the Las Vegas dream." It also thanked APNJ for drawing attention to the union.

Local 226 has been defiant regarding its tactics. After a similar video emerged on Oct. 5 calling tourists "jerks and losers," Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argulleo-Kline said the actions were "exercises of workers' First Amendment rights and part of the struggle for the Las Vegas dream.”

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