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Culinary Joins Hands With Communist Leader.

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 24, 1999--

The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino criticized the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 today for financing a known communist to travel to Las Vegas in order to march with them on the Las Vegas Strip.

"It is unconscionable that the Culinary Union would use their members' hard-earned dollars to fly a communist leader from Italy to Las Vegas to generate bad publicity for Las Vegas," said William Weidner, President of Las Vegas Sands Inc, the parent company of The Venetian.

Michele Vianello, Deputy Mayor of Venice, was brought to Las Vegas as a part of the Culinary Union's unsuccessful campaign to thwart the success of The Venetian. During a Wednesday press conference, Mr. Vianello was asked about his affiliation with the Italian Communist Party. Mr. Vianello attempted to deny the charge, stating that he is a member of the "Democratic Left Party." But those who have followed Italian political history know that the Communist Party of Italy changed its name to the "Democratic Party on the Left" earlier this decade (a).

Weidner continued, "The Culinary's dues-paying members and our community as a whole should be outraged that the Culinary would recruit a senior Communist Party member to help them carry forth their agenda. Mr. Vianello's ideals might be right in line with devout socialists within the union's leadership, like John Sweeney(b), but they differ greatly from those of the working men and women here in Las Vegas."

"Mr. Vianello's charge that one cannot recreate Venice is completely irrelevant. None of the resorts on the Strip are actually trying to recreate the cities they represent, nor are we. At The Venetian-Resort-Hotel-Casino, we have created a world-class luxurious resort destination which is themed and pays tribute to the art, history and romance of Venice. The Venetian is an asset to our tourism economy and it should not be criticized in such a superficial manner. Friday's protest and the alliance between the Culinary and this communist leader is nothing more than a disgrace to Las Vegas and does nothing but hurt the reputation of our community."

It should be noted that Mr. Vianello is not in Las Vegas on a diplomatic visit sanctioned by the city of Venice. Mr. Vianello's vacation is being financed solely from the paychecks of the Culinary's membership.

In addition, comments made by Mr. Vianello should be disregarded given the fact that according to a Venetian news publication La Nuova Venezia, Vianello is part of a political administration that would have endorsed The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino had the proper donation of several hundred thousands dollars been made.

Weidner concluded, "The Culinary will obviously do whatever it takes in order to extort The Venetian into giving up the rights of its team members to decide for themselves in a secret ballot election, whether or not they want union representation. It's unfortunate that the Culinary Union must waste the dues of its members with publicity stunts like this one in order draw people's attention away from the fact that The Venetian is giving its members the best pay and benefits package on the Strip."

a. Source: Encarta Encyclopedia online. Actual Web site:

b. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 18, 1998
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 27, 1999
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