Corporate Campaign Gamble

UNITE/HERE union bosses allegedly sent letters to Trump casino customers urging them to shun the casino shortly before the casino’s management asked for the collective bargaining agreement to be cancelled.  Wayne Parry has the story on Fox Business News.

A bankruptcy judge in Delaware will consider a request Wednesday by Trump Entertainment Resorts to force Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union to acknowledge that letters it sent to Taj Mahal customers urging them to take their business elsewhere were misleading. The casino wants the union to be compelled to write to everyone it contacted, admitting its prior communication with them was not accurate.

The union says its communications are protected free speech, claiming a federal law called the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibits federal courts from barring publicity regarding a labor dispute.

The campaign began shortly before the judge granted Trump Entertainment’s request in October to cancel the union contract at the Taj Mahal and impose the company’s terms. It involved the union calling or sending letters to groups that had booked events at the Taj Mahal, advising them of the labor dispute between the casino and the union, and urging them to patronize other casinos instead. Some groups did cancel.

In a recent court filing, Trump Entertainment said the union believes federal labor law and the First Amendment “provide it carte blanche to engage in economic warfare” against the casino in retaliation for the court-ordered cancellation of the union contract.

“Federal labor law and the First Amendment provide no shelter for the union,” Trump Entertainment wrote. The company said the union has acknowledged in court filings that the purpose of its campaign “was not simply to inform, but to discourage patronage,” and that the campaign is an “economic weapon” to pressure the company.

In its response, the union said it is exercising its free speech rights.