About 40 workers at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. voted to join the labor union Unite Here, which represents about 6,500 hospitality workers in the Washington area.
Trump can appoint members of the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces United States federal labor law, including the oversight of collective bargaining and unfair labor practices.
Georgetown University history professor Joseph McCartin, who specializes in labor issues, suggested this situation is unique in that it involves a president who is financially reliant on the decision making of his political inferiors.
“This is really an unprecedented situation. Those facilities are all subject to labor law and yet the president can appoint people who have every power over determining how the labor law is interpreted,” McCartin said.
Trump International Hotel Director of Sales and Marketing Patricia Tang declined to comment.
Last fall, Unite Here organized protests at the hotel’s opening with more than 400 demonstrators in attendance, demanding that Donald Trump recognize the unionization efforts of workers at the Trump Hotel in Los Vegas, in addition to organizing a nation-wide boycott of Trump products in response to his stance on labor issues.
Unite Here’s D.C. chapter Executive Secretary and Treasurer John Boardman told The Washington Post that 95 percent of Trump housekeepers and guest-room workers voted to join the union, which will push to adopt the same benefits and protections offered to workers at other downtown Washington hotels.
The move presents the possibility of tense labor negotiations involving newly-elected President Trump, who has yet to divest from his real estate business. This marks the first unionization at the Trump International Hotel, as well as the first unionization of Trump workers since the inauguration.
McCartin said workers often vote to unionize based on the increased benefits and pay that are inherent in doing so.
“No doubt they are aware of the fact that unionized workers earn more in wages and benefits than [non-]unionized workers,” McCartin said. “No doubt they are aware that unionized workers, through union contract, get more due process on the job if they have a grievance.”
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