Trump hotels reach deal with unions, ending labour board cases

 A statue of Ben Franklin stands outside the Trump International Hotel, formerly the Old Post Office Pavilion, in Washington, DC on Sept 16, 2016.
A statue of Ben Franklin stands outside the Trump International Hotel, formerly the Old Post Office Pavilion, in Washington, DC on Sept 16, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

(REUTERS) - Hotels in Las Vegas and Washington owned by US President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday (Dec 21) they have entered into collective bargaining agreements with more than 500 workers, who will drop claims that the hotels violated federal labour law.

The four-year contracts effective Jan 1 will provide food and beverage and housekeeping employees at Trump International hotels in those cities with annual raises and pension and healthcare benefits, Trump Hotels and four unions said in a joint statement.

Under the agreement, one of the unions, Unite Here Culinary Workers Union Local 226, will withdraw a series of cases filed with the US National Labor Relations Board against the Las Vegas hotel, union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said.

 

Those cases had been expected to be an early test of how Trump, who as president will have influence over the NLRB, would handle concerns over conflicts of interest raised by his business holdings. Trump takes office on Jan 20.

Last week, Democrats in the US Congress called on Trump to divest from the Washington hotel, which is in a building leased from the federal government, saying the lease would pose a conflict of interest because he would essentially be both its landlord and tenant once he is sworn in.

Eric Danziger, the chief executive of Trump Hotels, called Unite Here Local 25, the union representing workers at the hotel, which is down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, an "important partner" in a statement.

"We share mutual goals with the union, as we both desire to ensure outstanding jobs for the employees, while also enabling the hotel to operate successfully in a competitive environment,"he said.

As part of the agreement, the Trump Organization will also end its appeal of a November NLRB decision that said it violated workers' rights to organize at the Las Vegas hotel.

The Trump Organization still faces a pending case at the NLRB claiming it required thousands of US employees to sign unlawfully broad confidentiality agreements.

Separately, Politico reported on Wednesday that Trump's transition team is considering the use of discretionary trusts to avoid conflicts of interest for Trump family members or administration officials.