Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by US President Donald Trump for a seat on the Supreme Court earlier this month, was once a key figure in preventing unionization at one of President Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, Bloomberg reports.
The nation’s top official operated several casinos in Atlantic City back in the 1990s and 2000s. President Trump founded Trump Entertainment Resorts in 1995 to run the now shuttered Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino as well as Trump Taj Mahal (now operating as Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City) and the Trump Marina. Here it is important to note that President Trump has not been formally involved in the daily operations of the company and its properties since at least 2011.
In 2007, Trump Plaza became the subject of a dispute between owners and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The latter called for the hotel and casino resort to engage in unionization negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW).
During a UAW event with federal and state legislators, the union claimed that there was majority support for unionization at the casino. A vote took place shortly after and 324 of the property’s employees voted in favor of the move, while 149 cast a negative vote.
However, casino owners argued that the vote should be annulled as the extended coverage and UAW’s event influenced the vote. Under NLRB precedents, a vote could be declared invalid if preceded by actions that could have impacted the results. In that case, the NLRB maintained that neither the pre-vote event, nor any of its actions were biased.
Judge Kavanaugh’s Involvement in the Case
It was around 2010 when the case reached Judge Kavanaugh’s desk in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Trump Entertainment Resorts attorneys claimed that UAW’s pre-vote event was an “elaborate hoax” that eventually created a “bandwagon effect”. They further explained that workers did not vote against the proposed unionization because it seemed that pro-union workers were a majority.
In 2012, Judge Kavanaugh supported those arguments and told NLRB attorneys that arguing the pre-event had no effect on the vote defied common sense and that the Board had ignored “substantial circumstantial evidence”. The case is still open, although Trump Plaza was shuttered in 2014. The property is planned to be demolished later this year.
Bloomberg reports that the Trump Plaza case was not the only one when Judge Kavanaugh sided with a casino business instead of workers. In 2015, the Judge supported casino giant Las Vegas Sands, owned by business mogul and staunch Republican supporter/donor Sheldon Adelson, in a dispute that involved its The Venetian casino resort and the NLRB. The Supreme Court nominee upheld that the property had a First Amendment right to call the Las Vegas Police Department and request action against union protesters who trespassed on its private property.
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