December 21, 2016 / 11:31 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 2-Trump hotels reach deal with unions, ending labor board cases

3 Min Read

(Adds comment from Trump Organization general counsel, paragraphs 5-6)

By Daniel Wiessner

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Hotels in Las Vegas and Washington owned by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump reached agreements with their workers' unions that will end a series of cases alleging the hotels violated federal labor law, the Trump Organization and unions said on Wednesday.

More than 500 food and beverage and housekeeping employees at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas entered into a four-year collective bargaining agreement effective Jan. 1 that guarantees annual raises and pension and healthcare benefits, Trump Hotels and Unite Here Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said in a joint statement.

Under the agreement, the union will withdraw a series of cases filed with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board against the hotel, union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said.

Those cases had been expected to be an early test of how Trump, who as president will have influence over the NLRB, would handle concerns over conflicts of interest raised by his business holdings. Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, said in an interview the company was moving to resolve legal disputes that could raise concerns about conflicts.

"(It is) certainly better to avoid distraction, but we're going to continue to move forward on matters where we think we're in the right," Garten said.

Trump Hotels also agreed to permit workers at the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C., which opened in October, to organize, the company said on Wednesday.

Last week, Democrats in the U.S. Congress called on Trump to divest from the Washington hotel, which is in a building leased from the federal government, saying the lease would pose a conflict of interest because he would essentially be both its landlord and tenant once he is sworn in.

Eric Danziger, chief executive of Trump Hotels, called Unite Here Local 25, the union organizing workers at the hotel, which is down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, an "important partner" in a statement.

"We share mutual goals with the union, as we both desire to ensure outstanding jobs for the employees, while also enabling the hotel to operate successfully in a competitive environment," he said.

As part of the agreement, the Trump Organization will end its appeal of a November NLRB decision that said it violated workers' rights to organize at the Las Vegas hotel.

The Trump Organization still faces a pending case at the NLRB claiming it required thousands of U.S. employees to sign unlawfully broad confidentiality agreements.

Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, N.Y.; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson in Honolulu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney

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