Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014, 3:44 pm
New Orleans Union Membership Set to Double After Hotel and Casino Workers Win
The number of union members in New Orleans’s tourism industry is set to double. The hospitality and gaming union Unite Here and Teamsters Local 270 are in contract negotiations with Harrah’s Hotel and Casino after winning a card check election among 900 hotel and food workers.
According to the Times-Picayune:
The local Teamsters Union will represent the 150 or so employees who work the front of the hotel, bellmen, valets and front desk workers, as well as those in the hotel's warehouse. Unite Here … will represent the remaining 750 employees, who work in housekeeping and food service.
About 70 percent of eligible employees expressed interest in union representation during a formal card check held in March, giving the unions legal authority to begin negotiations, said Scott Cooper, director and secretary-treasurer of Unite Here's New Orleans local.
With 70,000 tourism related jobs in the New Orleans area, and tourism accounting for almost $6.5 billion of New Orleans’ economy, unions have ample opportunity to expand in New Orleans. Unite Here currently has only three contracts in the city.
The decades-old struggle for labor unions in the South has been reinvigorated in recent years. The North Carolina State AFL-CIO has said the labor needs to “organize the South or die.” Others have called for a Second Operation Dixie, referencing the CIO’s failed mission in the late forties and early fifties to unionize the old Confederacy.
Conservative resistance runs deep, however. Earlier this year, the Unites Auto Workers lost a bid to organize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a slim margin. When commenting on the defeat, South Carolina Governor and Tea Party favorite Nikki Haley said she discourages “any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to taint the water.”
Help In These Times Continue Publishing
Progressive journalism is needed now more than ever, and In These Times needs you.
Like many nonprofits, we expect In These Times to struggle financially as a result of this crisis. But in a moment like this, we can’t afford to scale back or be silent, not when so much is at stake. If it is within your means, please consider making an emergency donation to help fund our coverage during this critical time.
Kevin is an educator and freelance writer in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @kevinsolari_.
More by Kevin Solari
- Elon Musk Once Reprimanded a Tesla Employee for Missing a Work Event for the Birth of His Child
- GOP Prez Candidate Carly Fiorina Forgets to Register URL, Gets Mercilessly Trolled for Mass Layoffs
- Thousands of New York City Teachers Protest Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Free Market Education Reforms
- In a Major Victory for Academic Labor, NYU Grad Students Win Contract, Narrowly Avert Strike
- Papa John’s Forced to Pay Millions in Workers’ Stolen Wages