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Workers picket Trump’s Las Vegas union busting outside his DC hotel

“What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

CREDIT: Kira Lerner
CREDIT: Kira Lerner

WASHINGTON, DC — Hundreds of workers picketed outside Donald Trump’s newly-opened Pennsylvania Avenue hotel on Thursday to demand that the presidential nominee recognize and bargain with the union at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

The workers at the Las Vegas hotel, which is half owned by the presidential candidate, won an election to organize with the Culinary Union last December, and the National Labor Relations Board affirmed the decision this year. But Trump and the hotel management have refused to recognize the vote of roughly 500 workers, saying it was “anything but free and fair.”

Holding signs and yelling through bullhorns, the group declared: “What do we want? Contract! When do we want it? Now!”

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“What’s disgusting? Union busting!” was another refrain from the workers, representing some of the country’s largest labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, CWA, AFSCME, and UNITE Here.

Joshua Armstead, a utility worker at Georgetown University and a member of UNITE Here Local 23, told ThinkProgress he will boycott all Trump properties until the real estate mogul agrees to bargain with the Las Vegas workers.

“He needs to sit down and negotiate immediately,” he said. “He needs to stop retaliating against them and stop harassing them. He needs to sit down and bargain like any other employer in the United States.”

Watch some of the protest:

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Many of the roughly 500 workers at the Las Vegas hotel are immigrants, and labor members in Washington, DC cited Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration as a reason he may be fighting the union. Trump has also indicated his disdain for unions, saying that wages are “too high” and choosing a running mate who has fought with labor on many important battles like the minimum wage.

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Earlier this year, Trump’s companies also faced allegations that they routinely refused to pay bills to contractors or for goods and services.

Debby Szeredy, the vice president of the American Postal Workers Union, called it “disgusting” that Trump has not negotiated a contract. “This guy doesn’t stand with his workers,” she said.

Local politicians were also present to support the workers’ efforts. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a candidate for Senate, said that though there are many reasons to oppose the Republican nominee, he wanted to show that “we are not going to be bullied by Donald Trump.”

“We‘re going to send a message from here to Las Vegas that we will stand with our brothers and sisters who are working there,” he said. “Mr. Trump, go to the negotiating table!”