Bernie Sanders Attacks Station Casinos and ‘Trump Supporting’ Fertitta Brothers Over Palms Union Clash

Posted on: August 7, 2019, 05:56h. 

Last updated on: August 9, 2019, 08:18h.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is no fan of Station Casinos tycoons Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. The left-wing Vermont Democrat, who is once again running for his party’s presidential nomination, was in Las Vegas on Saturday along with 18 other Democratic hopefuls, all eager to win the hearts of the labor unions that will hold sway in Nevada come next year’s primary vote.

Station Casinos billionaires Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta were called out on Twitter by Bernie Sanders for their refusal to negotiate with Palms Casino workers. But did they feel the Bern? (Image: Jason Merritt/Getty/Washington Post/

On Tuesday, “the Bern” took to Twitter to blast the Fertitta brothers as “billionaire, Trump-supporting [Palms Casino] owners” who needed “to stop ignoring the law and start negotiating with their workers.”

Sanders was referring to the long-standing bad blood between Nevada’s third-largest employer, Station Casinos, and the Culinary Workers Union (CWU) — and specifically, the ongoing stand-off between the union and Station’s Palms Resort and Casino.

Workers at the Palms voted 84 percent to unionize in April 2018. But Station Casinos parent Red Rock Resorts challenged the vote, adopting what the union called “time-consuming, expansive litigation via a multi-stage appeal process through the [National Labor Relations Board] NLRB and the courts.”

Celeb Chef Picket Line

In March of this year, the union called on its members to engage in so-called “secondary picketing” of business partners of the Palms, including celebrity chefs Marc Vetri and Michael Symon.

CWU, or UNITE HERE local 226, is the largest union in Las Vegas, representing around 60,000 cooks, cleaners, bartenders, cocktail waitresses, porters, and other casino staff.

In May, an NLRB panel that included two Trump appointees and one Obama appointee ruled that Station was operating in violation of federal labor law by refusing to recognize the vote and declining to negotiate with the unions.

In late June, more than a thousand CWU members picketed in front of the Palms, which was acquired by the Fertittas in 2016.

Shortly after the acquisition, the company embarked on a $620 million renovation of the property, which began opening in phases from March 2018, a month before the union vote.

The Fertittas have a long history of opposing union organization at their properties, and Sanders’ assertion that they are “billionaire Trump supporters” is accurate on both counts. The brothers have donated $2 million to the fiercely pro-Trump Super PAC America Action First Inc, an organization that has also felt the brunt of the union’s secondary picketing.

In response to the Fertitta intransigence, CWU has hounded the brothers at every turn. In 2015, the union even objected to an “irresponsible” water fountain in front of the Ultimate Fighting Championship offices, a brand the brothers then owned.

A year later, the Fertittas sold the UFC, including the offending water fountain, for $4 billion.

Life on Mars?

Meanwhile — and, strangely enough, still kind of on the subject of mixed-martial arts — Sanders continued his canvassing on Wednesday, appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience.

In response to a tongue-in-cheek, curve ball question, he told the former UFC color commentator he would definitely tell the world the truth about aliens if he became president.

It’s a comment that might appeal to a voting demographic that is not traditionally affiliated with the Progressive movement. But from a gambling perspective, it may also shorten the odds on the impending discovery of alien life-forms.

In November of last year, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power drastically slashed its odds on extra-terrestrial contact from 100/1 to 5/1, following some strange sightings in the sky over County Kerry.

Unfortunately for Sanders, Paddy Power has him at 9/1 to become president in 2020, which is only slightly less likely than humankind coming face to face with E.T.

Stranger things have happened.

In both cases, these are more generous odds than Paddy Power assigned to Donald Trump exactly four years ago.


This article has been amended to reflect that the Culinary Workers Union has 60,000 members in Las Vegas, not 6,000 as previously reported.