Billionaire casino owner out to bust unions

Union protesters outside of the Venetian casino.

Don’t’ gamble at The Venetian or Palazzo!


Managing Editor

Las Vegas—Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of The Venetian and Palazzo casinos here, who spent more than $150 million on Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates in the election this year, says his new target for political contributions is going to be a union busting campaign to get state governments to abolish collective bargaining.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Dec. 5, Adelson said he intended to join the state-by-state effort by Republicans to weaken unions by getting rid of collective bargaining.

Adelson’s casinos here are the only nonunion casinos and hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.

Meanwhile last week, 500 hundred union nurses and labor allies picketed Adelson  outside The Venetian, chanting, “Our democracy is not for sale to the highest bidder”!

National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest organization of nurses, joined by local union activists, picketed The Venetian to protest billionaire Adelson’s ongoing efforts to corrupt U.S. democracy through massive spending on elections.

NNU was meeting in convention in Las Vegas. It was joined by leaders and member of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union HERE and construction and building trades members for the picket.

Adelson spent some $150 million on the November elections, mostly to elect extremely conservative candidates.

“He represents the worst face of American politics today, the efforts of billionaires, millionaires, and Wall Street interests to buy our elections and democracy at the expense of everyone else,” said NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN.

“Our action will be a message to Adelson and the rest of the 1 percent, that we will not allow our democracy to be put on the auction block. This country is not for sale,” Burger said.

The union busting effort in the states has been financed for years by a small group of other billionaires, including the infamous David and Charles Koch brothers, the National Right-to-Work Committee, and a small army of wealthy anti-union employers in nearly every state.

Their most recent victory was in getting a recent right-to-work (for less) law passed in Michigan. Earlier, they got right-to-work (for less) laws passed in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Adelson, who acknowledged in the interview that he probably spent more in this year’s campaign than the $150 million made public so far, said he intended to “double down” on his political contributions in the next year or two, but with a focus on the states.

Adelson spent about $50 million  on Romney’s campaign, $15 million on Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries, and millions more in congressional races. While most of his candidates lost, he is credited with helping Republicans regain control of the House.

An effort in Missouri last year to adopt a right-to-work (for less) law failed. But Tim Jones (R-Eureka), the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, has said he will push for a Missouri law in the next session of the legislature.

Because Gov. Jay Nixon has vowed to veto any right-to-work (for less) bill that reaches his desk, a new proposal is likely to be a ballot issue that would require approval by Missouri voters and would not go to the Governor if it passes the legislature.

Illinois Democrats have healthy majorities in both houses of the state legislature. Gov. Quinn is a Democrat. Legislative leaders see little chance of a right-to-work (for less) law passing in Illinois in the foreseeable future.



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