If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result, the Culinary Local 226 is positively certifiable. On Oct. 5 outside The Cosmopolitan, union members berated tourists who entered and exited the nonunion property, going far beyond the self-destructive belligerence shown during previous recent protests and organizing campaigns.
Video footage shot by the Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs — a group that advocates for private-sector employers — shows picketers with megaphones hounding Strip visitors. Said one protester: “You and your girlfriend are a bunch of losers, losers. Especially your girlfriend.” Another yelled: “Look at these nasty scabs. … Shame on you and your ugly pants. … Loser, you filthy loser. Look at these ugly girls.”
That’s not a message that will rally support for a Culinary contract. In attacking the very people who provide livelihoods for the 44,000 members of the Culinary Local 226, the union has gone from biting the hand that feeds it (strike threats to Wall Street investors and analysts, harassing Station Casinos visitors, picking fights with the Ultimate Fighting Championship) to chewing off the whole arm.
“You don’t do that … calling tourists those names and berating them when they come here to spend their money in our city,” Ron Futrell, spokesman for the Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs, said in an interview with KVVU-TV.
The childish antics indicate short-sighted leadership and no regard for the image of union members. We’re embarrassed for these hard-working Las Vegans.
“The recent civil disobediences (sic), rallies and pickets are exercises of workers’ First Amendment rights and part of the struggle for the Las Vegas Dream,” union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline said in the union’s official statement on the videos.
Since when does the Las Vegas Dream, the American Dream or any other dream involve hurling insults? Not only is it despicable, it’s ineffective. The videos show no visitors changing course in response to the protests. A few clearly were angered, but most treated the demonstration as white noise.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: If Culinary Local 226 is really concerned about securing a strong future for its workers, it would do well to remember just who supports all those union jobs: the millions of tourists who file in and out of our megaresorts every year. Stop trying to damage the Las Vegas brand, and stop the harassment of the people who provide you with a living.