Culinary Union picketer verbally attacks tourists on Strip

Union official sees nothing wrong with tactics

The Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs

The Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs provided this image of the Culinary protest on Oct. 5, 2013 outside of the Cosmopolitan in which members of the union called tourists “losers” and “jerks” for going into the Cosmopolitan.

Video footage has surfaced showing a picketing Culinary Union member calling tourists “losers” and “jerks” for going into the Cosmopolitan.

The Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs captured the video at a Culinary protest Oct. 5 outside the $4 billion Strip resort and today posted it on YouTube.

The alliance called the Culinary’s methods “unsavory” and asked elected officials to denounce the union’s tactics.

“Lawmakers should see that the union bosses at the Culinary Union are engaged in guerilla tactics that give our state a black eye,” said Zachary Moyle, an Alliance spokesman. “The irony of Big Labor’s approach is that it results in less tourism, fewer jobs, less tips and a weak local economy, which ultimately hurts the very workers they claim to represent.”

Culinary officials said there’s nothing wrong with their tactics.

“The recent civil disobediences, rallies and pickets are exercises of workers’ First Amendment rights and part of the struggle for the Las Vegas Dream,” saiod Geoconda Arguello-Kline, the Culinary’s secretary-treasurer. “Cosmopolitan workers are fighting for the opportunity to provide for their families, something all Vegas workers deserve.”

The video, titled “Union Bosses From The Culinary 226 Harass Tourists,” runs 1 minute, 18 seconds.

The footage shows an unidentified Culinary member wearing a yellow reflective vest and toting a megaphone. Next to him stands an APNJ member handing out “Thank You” cards.

The APNJ, a project of the Workforce Fairness Institute, last week announced that it would launch a counter-demonstration during Culinary protests outside the Cosmopolitan. Instead of picketing, APNJ said it would distribute cards.

While the APNJ hands off the cards, the Culinary member pipes in. “You guys are a bunch of losers,” he yells, targeting a group of people walking through the Cosmopolitan’s front doors.

Later in the video, the man verbally attacks a couple.

“You and your wife are a bunch of losers,” he says. “Support the workers, guys...Don’t go inside of the Cosmopolitan.”

Representing about 50,000 bartenders, maids and food servers, the Union then vowed to maintain a constant presence outside the Cosmopolitan, where 2,000 workers have been clocking in without a labor agreement for more than two years. The protests will end, officials say, when those workers get contracts.

Cosmopolitan bosses would not comment on the video or either group’s campaign.

Near the end of the footage, the man yells at another couple walking into the Cosmopolitan.

“You and your girlfriend are a bunch of losers,” he says, “Losers! … Especially your girlfriend. She’s a loser!”

Ron Futrell, APNJ spokesman, contends the Culinary’s insults could lead to ugly confrontations on the Strip.

“It’s harassment,” Futrell said. “I think that certain method of harassing tourists can be dangerous and inflammatory.”