That populist Donald Trump, he’s really a friend of the working person. I really take his populist talk about jobs and trade agreements very, very seriously. The history of workers in his own properties shows he’s the kindest, warmest, man to ever live.
GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump fashions himself a friend of union workers. He has bragged about having good relationships with labor unions. When the AFL-CIO recently endorsed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, Trump claimed it was he who deserved the labor federation’s coveted backing.
“I believe [union] members will be voting for me in much larger numbers than for her,” Trump declared last month.
Before entering the voting booth, those union members might want to know how much money one of Trump’s businesses has spent in an effort to persuade low-wage workers not to unionize.
The Culinary Workers Union recently organized housekeepers and other service workers at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. The union won the election in December — but not without a fight from hotel owners Trump Ruffin Commercial LLC. That’s a joint venture between the likely GOP nominee and casino magnate Phil Ruffin, himself a major financial backer of Trump’s presidential run.
According to Labor Department disclosure forms reviewed by The Huffington Post, Trump Ruffin shelled out more than half a million dollars last year to a consulting firm that combats union organizing efforts. The money was paid from Trump Ruffin to Cruz & Associates in a series of seven payments between July and December, totaling $560,631.
Nearly $285,000 of that money was paid over the course of two weeks in December, shortly after the hotel held its union election.
Despite the heavy investment from Trump Ruffin, the union prevailed by a vote of 238 to 209. Trump Ruffin argued in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board that the union illegally swayed the vote, but a regional director for the NLRB rejected those claims. The hotel has asked that the board members in Washington review that decision. According to an NLRB spokeswoman, the board has not yet determined whether it will grant that review.
A lawyer for Trump and a campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the payments. Lupe Cruz, the owner of Cruz & Associates, did not respond to a voicemail left at his office on Friday.
I’m not going to say that it’s not in the interests of union members to vote for Trump. It’s certainly not in their economic interest to do so. But too many Americans prioritize their interests in white supremacy over their interest in feeding their kids. That’s unfortunate, but it’s true and some of those people will vote for Donald Trump. Racial resentment has usually trumped economic solidarity in American history. But this should be brought up over and over whenever Trump talks about himself as a friend to union members.