There’s no better time for the quarrels between casino operators and labor unions to come to the limelight with the Nevada Democratic Caucuses just a few days away. The Culinary Workers Union took to the streets on February 19, maybe exploiting on the added attention they’d receive with Presidential hopefuls in the neighborhood.
According to the report by Las Vegas Review-Journal, Culinary Local 226 gathered outside the Palms in Las Vegas, joined by Teamsters and the SEIU. Their chant, an important part of any good protest, was catchy and rhymed, meeting most of the criteria one would expect. They roared on Flamingo road, “Palms casino, look around! Vegas is a union town!”
The operator of the Palms, Station Casinos, is the target of their rage. The company answered by noting it’s free health care for staffs making less than $20 per hour, and indicating its improved benefits package.
As reported by calvinayre.com, the National Labor Relations Board has earlier ruled that the Palms are illegally refusing to recognize the Culinary and Bartenders union. Station Casinos has not signed a labor contract at any of its properties, leaving the influential workers unions still quite discontent.
As the Culinary Union makes up a noteworthy voting block in Nevada, some presidential contenders stopped by. Senator Elizabeth Warren was present, along with Senator Amy Klobuchar, ex Vice President Joe Biden, businessman Tom Steyer, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Steyer said, “This is about doing what’s right,”. Biden added, “It’s about time. It’s about time. These guys are engaged in unfair practices here.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, the current leader in Nevada polls, was not seen in the picket line. The Culinary Union has criticized one of his key policies, “Medicare for All,” as it would dismiss their negotiated health care plan.
Sanders nonappearance didn’t go unseen. At the February 19 presidential hopefuls debate, Buttigieg blamed the senator as being “the one who is at war with the Culinary Union right here in Las Vegas.” The gibe was over Sanders’ supporters supposed attack on the Culinary Union’s leadership over their leaflet on Medicare for All.
Sanders has criticized any attacks on Culinary. He stated, “Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks.”
The end result is somewhat a wash. In a highly publicized decision, the Culinary Union has declined to endorse any of the candidates, rather stressing that it only endorses its own goals.