(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Ask around Las Vegas, especially in the corridors of City Hall and the streets of downtown, and people will sing the praises of Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos. The company’s move to the Las Vegas Valley several years ago was celebrated. And Hsieh rescued the City from its ill-advised and misguided decision to build a brand-new City Hall in the depths of the recession by inking a deal to take over the old one.
Hsieh has played a huge role in downtown redevelopment and pledged to invest even more in efforts to revitalize the area. In some ways he has replaced former Mayor Oscar Goodman as unofficial ambassador for the City. Hsieh and Zappos have brought investment dollars, jobs and energy, elements that had been lacking recently, to downtown Las Vegas.
But there is one group not singing the praises of Zappos and Hsieh. The Culinary Union, as part of its campaign against Stations Casinos, has identified Hsieh as a target of its ire.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, Union members have harassed Hsieh as he has attempted to go about living his life – while dining at a local restaurant and attending a popular function that Hsieh and Zappos saved from extinction.
For the leader of a company whose reputation has been built on customer and employee satisfaction, he would seem to be a strange choice for such anger. So what is Hsieh’s offense that earned him the role of target of such “disgusting”, in the words of one person quoted in the Sun piece, behavior? Zappos puts up visiting executives in the hotel nearest its current Henderson headquarters, which happens to be a Stations property.
As disgusting as this is, it’s pretty much par for the course for the Culinary, even mild. The Union has a reputation for thuggish tactics and, on more than one occasion, recent demonstrations aimed at Stations have resulted in the arrest of Union members.
Unable to convince workers to voluntarily join their Union, the Culinary has resorted to harassing and intimidating innocent people who’ve done more for workers and for Las Vegas than the Union could ever hope to.