Political Abuse of Hotel Workers Never Stops

a screen shot of UNITE HERE union boss Ted Pappageorge on MSNBC with the headline, "Breaking News: Culinary Union Organized Massive Voter Turnout in NV"
Draconian COVID-19 regulations that kept unionized workers unemployed, month after month, didn’t appear to trouble UNITE HERE boss Ted Pappageorge one whit at the time. In fact, he used those regulations for political gain! (Credit: MSNBC)

Year After Year, Rank-and-File Serve as Union Campaign Conscripts

For dues-paying, rank-and-file hotel, casino, and other hospitality employees who belong to UNITE HERE union subsidiaries in Nevada and other states around the country, 2020 was a horrific time.

After the Silver State’s Steve Sisolak (D) and other governors imposed unprecedented lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 virus in March and April that year, 98% of UNITE HERE members were standing in unemployment lines, according to the union hierarchy’s own admission.

Fortunately for hospitality employees in Florida and other states where UNITE HERE kingpins wield relatively little power, a number of pro-Right to Work governors allowed hotels and other vacation facilities to reopen once they had solid evidence they could safely do so.

Keeping Workers Unemployed Enabled Big Labor to Use Them As Political Foot Soldiers

But UNITE HERE-backed chief executives like Mr. Sisolak and California’s Gavin Newsom (D) kept in place an array of draconian COVID-19 mandates that kept unionized hospitality workers as well as vast numbers of other employees from returning to their jobs.

Big Labor bosses like Ted Pappageorge, the head of Local 226, the massive UNITE HERE subsidiary wielding monopoly-bargaining power over 60,000 workers in Las Vegas, never pushed back against these medically unwarranted mandates, despite the economic harm they were inflicting on rank-and-file unionists.

Consequently, even though most blue-collar employees nationwide were back at work by the late summer of 2020, the unemployment rate for UNITE HERE-“represented” workers was stuck at 85% in September 2020, according to union-label journalist Hamilton Nolan.

The inability of UNITE HERE rank-and-filers to return to their normal jobs for the better part of a year did not seem to trouble the likes of Mr. Pappageorge at all. 

Indeed, UNITE HERE kingpins seized on the opportunity to acquire thousands of additional low-cost foot soldiers for an electioneering campaign geared at helping pro-forced-unionism politician Joe Biden win key swing states and the White House in 2020.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“By the summer of 2020, ample scientific evidence was already available showing that extreme ‘social distancing’ rules were not necessary to protect the health of employees or customers.

“Had UNITE HERE union bosses cared about the economic well-being of employees, they would have focused like a laser beam on getting their members safely back on the job.

“Instead, they deployed, in the words of then-union International President D. Taylor, ‘1,700 out-of-work housekeepers, cooks, servers, and other hospitality workers’ as low-paid political door knockers in four presidential battleground states.

“Undoubtedly, many if not most of these ‘canvassers’ would have preferred in the summer of 2020 to be doing their regular jobs in air-conditioned hotels and casinos, earning tips as well as regular wages, instead of going door-to-door to cajole ‘low-propensity’ voters in places like Phoenix. 

“But that wouldn’t have burnished UNITE HERE bosses’ status as political kingmakers!”

This year, as in 2020, UNITE HERE bosses will be lavishly spending workers’ dues and fees (which are extracted from employees on pain of termination in California and 23 other forced-unionism states) to muster a vast political army.

And once again, the money and manpower resources of the Local 226 juggernaut and other UNITE HERE subsidiaries in state after state will be deployed on behalf of Joe Biden and other politicians who support perpetuating and expanding special legal privileges for union officials.

In 2020, Ted Pappageorge Could Have Gotten Las Vegas Strip Fully Reopened, But He Didn’t

“Though Nevada has voted Democrat in all of the last four presidential election contests, it could turn out to be surprisingly tough for Joe Biden this year,” commented Mr. Mix.

“A key reason why is that Mr. Biden’s Democrat Party is correctly perceived as supporting repressive COVID-19 policies that devastated Nevada employees and businesses for years. It was largely for this reason that Steve Sisolak was the ONLY governor in 2022 who lost a re-election bid. That happened despite massive Local 226 support for Mr. Sisolak.

“This year, even Ted Pappageorge is effectively admitting the same radical COVID-19 regulations he could have helped overturn, but didn’t, were a grave mistake. But now he is trying to blame the extended Sisolak shutdown of the Las Vegas Strip on Donald Trump!

“Cynicism knows no bounds when it comes to Big Labor bosses seeking to defend and expand their power to get workers fired for refusal to join or bankroll a union.”

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