Union, Black golfers teed off by tournaments at Trump’s courses

LAS VEGAS (PAI) – Unite Here, whose workers at Donald Trump’s huge hotel in Las Vegas are locked in a union recognition struggle with managers hired there by the Republican presidential nominee, has taken its campaign against Donald Trump one step farther: It’s joined African-American golfers who want the sport’s professional associations to yank future tournaments from Trump’s courses.

In a statement issued August 16, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 – the union that Trump Las Vegas Hotel and Casino workers voted for and an affiliate of Unite Here – declared the Professional Golfers Association, the Ladies Professional Golfers Association and the U.S. Golfers Association should knock Trump’s courses into the labor equivalent of a sand trap.

To push them to do so, the local is endorsing a MoveOn.org petition against using those Trump courses. Golfers Opposing Bigotry, an African-American golf group, started the petition. It’s unusual for golf: In past years, golfers have stayed out of politics. But one recent news story about the petition notes that all-time golf great Jack Nicklaus backs Trump.

The petition says, “Trump’s hateful rhetoric and exclusionary policy proposals are divisive and dangerous. Despite professed disagreement with his abhorrent views and statements, two of American golf’s leading bodies have continued doing business with him, and as such, they reward him materially and give him and his views undeserved legitimacy.”

“Trump represents a hazard to women with his sexist remarks and his refusal to recognize as equals the largely female workforce at his Las Vegas hotel, who won a union election last December,” said Local 226 spokeswoman Bethany Kahn. Her local started a #TrumpHazard campaign at the U.S. Women’s Open last month with an aerial banner that read ‘Golf: Say No To Trump #TrumpHazard.’

The petition’s first target is the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, scheduled for a Trump course in New Jersey – the state where his Atlantic City casino hotel went broke three times. Its Unite Here Local 54 workers face closure by the new owner, a pro-Trump hedge fund manager.

“We want to negotiate a contract with Mr. Trump as equals,” Trump Las Vegas housekeeper Carmen Llarull told Unite Here. “Until Mr. Trump starts showing respect to hard-working women like us, he shouldn’t be allowed the honor of hosting an important women’s event like the Women’s Open.”

“People of color and women have long fought discrimination within the golf community,” said NYU American History Professor Jeffrey Sammons, a Golfers Opposing Bigotry co-founder. “The golf industry and the hotel industry are very intertwined, so we’re excited by support from hospitality workers in Las Vegas and from across the country.”

The online petition is addressed to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, PGA CEO Peter Bevacqua, PGA Tour Commissioner Timothy Finchem and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan.

Photo: A bird’s eye view of Trump’s National Golf Course, where in 2015 the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was cancelled due to Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants. | cardinalgold/public domain/wikipedia