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Adelson Foe Named Head of National Union

The president of a Las Vegas union that has clashed with casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson will now lead UNITE HERE, a national hospitality workers union.

Culinary Workers Union secretary-treasurer D. Taylor was elected president of UNITE HERE by the union’s governing board on November 29, the union announced. Taylor replaces John Wilhelm, a longtime labor leader who spent recent years embroiled in squabbles within the labor movement.

Taylor’s Culinary Workers Union has worked in vain to unionize Adelson’s Venetian, the only large non-union casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The two have fought for years, and, at least on Taylor’s part, the animosity seems to have grown personal. “”Anybody who stands up to him or stands in his way, he’ll try to crush,” Taylor said of Adelson in a March NPR story.

UNITE HERE, which represents 230,000 workers, was formed by the merger of HERE, a hotel and restaurant workers union led by Wilhelm, and Bruce Raynor’s UNITE, a garment workers union. The two sides of UNITE HERE divorced acrimoniously in 2007, Raynor’s side leaving to create a new SEIU affiliate called Workers United.

Raynor resigned from his position leading Workers United in 2011 amidst allegation that he had submitted fraudulent expense reports.

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