Culinary Workers Union Local 226 — the group that is battling Station Casinos to unionize its hotel and casino workers — launched a new salvo against the casino’s owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who also own a majority stake in the UFC and Strikeforce yesterday by firing off a letter of complaint to Federal Trade Commission Director Richard Feinstein in which they request that the FTC launch an investigation against Zuffa for what they deem as “a violation of anti-trust laws.”
According to the complaint, sent to CagePotato.com today by the union, Zuffa’s practices of buying out the competition like they did with PRIDE, the WEC, WFA and Strikeforce, their institution of champion’s clauses, automatic contract renewal clauses and guaranteed first negotiation periods in fighters’ contracts, their control of fighter image and likeness rights in perpetuity and their refusal to co-promote all put artificial restraints on athlete movement, depress pay and stifle competition.
It’s worth noting that this is the same union that financially supported Bob Reilly’s re-election campaign in New York and who has been feeding the oblivious State Assemblyman lines about the Fertittas and Zuffa being sinister entities. There’s a pretty good chance they are angling at getting the FTC to force the sport to adopt a fighters union as well, but time will tell.
The CWU, who are a branch of the Unite Here group of unions that represent hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport workers in the U.S. and Canada, are asking that the FTC begin a thorough investigation into Zuffa’s contravention of the FTC Act which “prohibits unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce.”
The funny thing is, the FTC has already been investigating the UFC and Strikeforce parent company, and not surprisingly, the claim of a monopoly and of anti-trust violation has been vehemently denied by UFC president Dana White.
We’ll have to wait and see if the results of the FTC probe are made public and if they find any wrongdoing on the part of Zuffa.