Culinary Union launches second website that takes aim at the Cosmopolitan
The Culinary Union has cracked open another chapter in its campaign against the Cosmopolitan.
While the site's tagline claims it offers an insider perspective on the hospitality industry from the vantage of the Las Vegas Strip, Culinary officials say it's really the latest shot in the union's war against the $4 billion Strip resort, where some 2,000 workers have been clocking in without a labor contract for more than two years.
Officials of the Cosmopolitan, owned by Deutsche Bank, were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
One of the blog's first posts — dated Oct. 2 and titled "Why is the Ritz-Carlton sending its customers to the Cosmopolitan?" — offers a simple, paragraph-long mission statement:
"Culinary Confidential is collecting exceptional stories and incredible memories about the Cosmopolitan, which is a Ritz-Carlton partner resort," the post says. "The Cosmopolitan brags it has the right amount of wrong. But is the Cosmo a misfit for the Ritz brand?"
A post dated Oct. 8 says the Cosmopolitan "should measure up to the Gold Standards customers have come to expect at other Ritz destinations" — and then features negative reviews from top travel websites such as hotels.com and tripadvisor.com.
It appears the author randomly plucked negative reviews from the sites' long list of visitor dispatches. A sample of the titles of Culinary's selected reviews include "Dark," "Wild Place for People to Party," "Improve Your Advertising" and "Noisy and Miserable Atmosphere."
All of the reviews featured on culinaryconfidential.org range between one and three stars, all on a scale of five.
But if you hop on tripadvisor.com and search for the Cosmopolitan, you'll find positive reviews, too. One five-star review is titled "Absolutely amazing hotel."
Culinary Confidential also deploys a tab labeled "Complaints." Click through and you'll find a tutorial about how a visitor can file a complaint with the Southern Nevada Health District if he or she experiences "unsafe or unsanitary conditions at a Las Vegas hotel or casino."
Culinary Confidential is the second site launched by the labor union this year.
The first was Vegastravelalert.com, which warns visitors about potential labor demonstrations on the Strip. The site lists the Cosmopolitan and properties owned by MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Boyd Gaming as possible targets.
The Culinary recently signed contract extensions with both MGM and Caesars as the companies move through negotiations.
But the Culinary's war with the Cosmopolitan has been particularly colorful and heated.
Negotiations have been stalled between the union — representing about 50,000 bartenders, maids and food servers — and the resort over what's called a successorship clause: a guarantee that a union member's contract would carry over if the resort is sold.
Cosmopolitan bosses have also been pressured to sign contracts defined by 40-hour workweeks, health insurance and job security.
The standstill led to four major protests outside the resort this year. The Culinary then vowed to maintain a constant presence outside the Cosmopolitan, protesting every weekend — on Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Protests will stop, the Culinary says, when the 2,000 workers inside the resort get contracts.