Published Friday, Aug. 21, 2015 | 2:57 p.m.
Updated Friday, Aug. 21, 2015 | 8:15 p.m.
Several hundred members of the Culinary Union, joined by members of organized labor, clergy and activists, rallied outside the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas on Friday evening as part of ongoing efforts to unionize workers at the property. The crowd marched down Fashion Show Drive in the 104-degree heat carrying American flags and signs that read “No Contract, No Peace.”
“Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again,” said housekeeper Maria Jaramillo. “Let’s start with us workers.” A union-negotiated contract could lead to better pay, benefits and pensions, Jaramillo said.
The rally comes amid a push by labor to organize the 64-floor hotel that opened just off the Strip in 2008. The hotel is not unionized.
Not all workers at the Trump said they would support a union. As the rally took place, a group of valet parking attendants held a sign opposing unionization. Luis Gonzalez, who works in guest services, said that although union representation was appropriate for larger properties, he would prefer the Trump remain without labor representation.
“The union promises a lot of incentives, but the hotel doesn’t have the money to pay for it,” he said. “We’re a small property and we don’t have gaming revenue.”
The rally came on the same day as a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Trump leading the field for the Republican nomination for president with 32 percent of GOP voters (bit.ly/1Ea2N0O). Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, joined union members at a demonstration at the hotel Wednesday.
Geoconda Arguello Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, had tough words for the real estate mogul.
“He ought to stop attacking immigrants,” she said, “since a lot of them work in the Trump hotel every day.”
The rally drew counterdemonstrators including Josh Roosendaal, a hotel employee, who stood across the street from the rally with a pistol strapped to his hip and holding a sign that read “I (heart) Donald Trump” and chanted “Donald Trump put me through college.”
Jaramillo, a immigrant from Mexico, said Trump’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants were misguided: “I’m an American citizen. I’m here to make the country better. We want to prove that we’re the opposite of what Trump says we are.”