The National Labor Relations Board has certified a union for hotel staff, but management looks likely to appeal the decision. Meanwhile, staffers reflect on their struggles to get by: For Mr Trump, were just a number
Maricella Olvera encounters Donald Trump on occasion, but shes careful not to say a word. The 47-year-old cleans the penthouse at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, where Trump, his family, and celebrity guests often come to stay. She cleans around them in silence. Trump is always uninterested.
The policy is: you dont talk to the boss, she said at her small one-bedroom home, on the joyously named Sing Song Way in the citys northern suburbs.
While Olvera may be silent at work, she and a collective of cleaners, bar workers, and kitchen staff at the Trump hotel have been a thorn in the billionaires side for the past year, using what voice they have to remind the public of the hypocrisy that surrounds his audacious run for the presidency and his record as an employer.
Although Trump has touted himself as the greatest jobs president that God has ever created, these workers point to the fact they are paid on average $3 less than the thousands of unionised hotel workers in Las Vegas who work identical jobs and enjoy a host of other benefits, including pensions and free health insurance, not available to Trump employees.
Earlier this month, following a protracted dispute with Trump and his co-owner, casino billionaire Phil Ruffin, the National Labor Relations Board officially certified a union for over 500 staff at the hotel. Workers argue they have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and unlawful dismissal as they have sought to organize.
Hotel management has so far consistently rejected calls to sit down and negotiate a new contract and appear likely to appeal the certification. It is estimated by the Culinary Workers Union that 98% of casinos and hotels on the strip and in downtown Las Vegas are unionised, making the companys stance a near total outlier. Meanwhile, the billionaires campaign filings reveal he values his stake in the hotel at $50m, with a generated income of more than $27m.