Culinary Union celebrates 85 years of fighting for working families in Nevada

Culinary Union celebrates 85 years of fighting for working families in Nevada - The Culinary Union, a UNITE HERE local affiliate, was chartered on November 1, 1935. 2020 marks the 85th anniversary of an organization that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Nevada hospitality workers and their families with union wages and benefits. In eight decades, the Culinary Union has become an essential economic institution and a strong political force in the Battle Born State.  The Culinary Union has won a middle-class standard of living for over 800,000 hospitality workers in 85 years through rank-and-file organizing and mass actions. Worker membership has risen from 18,000 in 1987 to 60,000 members today.   “In eight decades, Nevada’s working families have seen many changes: From presidents and politicians, to casino buildings and corporations - our community is always changing, but what hasn’t changed is the the real power that workers have built over the past 85 years,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Working families are resilient because of the strength and sacrifices made by generations of Culinary Union members. Over our history, hundreds of thousands of workers have demanded to not be left behind and that we must be given seats at the table. The Culinary Union is proud of our 85 year history and we are committed to doing the work everyday to protect our families.” “In 2020, there is no other organization in Nevada that has done more to support working families during this unprecedented crisis than the Culinary Union,” continued Argüello-Kline “From fighting and winning extended health care benefits and access to health care for workers and their families, providing over 150,000 packages of food to furloughed workers, helping thousands of workers sign up for unemployment benefits, securing workers’ right to return to their jobs when business resumes, advocating for an eviction moratorium, passing the first and only-in-the-nation COVID-19 worker safety law, and by defeating the #1 threat to workers and our livelihoods these past four years - Donald Trump.” The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who are originally from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples. Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bakers, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers.

Trump Lies

Every day, he lies about something else. Do you want four more years? The Culinary and Bartenders Unions have proudly endorsed Joe Biden & Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States of America. Filling out your mail-in ballot? Check out the Culinary and Bartenders Union endorsement guide: PAID FOR BY: Paid for by Take Back 2020. (212) 265-7000. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Trump Lies

Every day, he lies about something else. Do you want four more years? The Culinary and Bartenders Unions have proudly endorsed Joe Biden & Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States of America. Filling out your mail-in ballot? Check out all of Culinary and Bartenders Union-endorsement guide:

SB4 bill signing with Governor Sisolak

📣 Senate Bill 4 has now been signed into law! YES WE DID! #SB4 is a first-in-nation legislation that protects all workers in hospitality industry in Vegas/Reno - wall-to-wall, front/back-of-house, union & non-union, worker & manager - from Bellagio to Motel 6. Senate Bill 4 “Adolfo Fernandez Bill” protects over 280,000 hospitality workers in Clark County and Washoe. Fact: A majority of Nevadans covered by this worker protection bill are not even unionized. Since March 1, 2020, 35 Culinary Union members and/or their dependents have died from COVID-19. Senate Bill 4 “Adolfo Fernandez Bill” mandates and enforces the following requirements regarding casinos and hotels in Las Vegas and Reno:  *Enhanced cleaning procedures such as daily room cleaning. *Social distancing. *Free testing for all workers before going back to work or those that have been exposed to COVID-19. *Paid time off while workers are in quarantine and/or while waiting for COVD-19 test results. Any worker who tests positive for COVID-19 will be allowed a minimum of 14 days off, including 10 paid days. *Temperature-checks for workers at the workplace. *Detailed plans of action for when a worker contracts COVID-19 or is exposed to someone with the virus. *Safety training for all employees. *Local and state health officials must regularly inspect resort hotels every two months for compliance with health standards, and for hotels with more than 200 rooms, inspections will take place every three months. When workers are protected, our entire community - from the hospitality industry to customers & locals are protected. ------

Culinary Union roundtable with Congressman Steven Horsford

On Thursday, July 16, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) hosted a virtual roundtable with Culinary Union to discuss the importance of worker protection during the coronavirus pandemic. Culinary Union President Ted Pappageorge and Culinary Union members Chad, Cris, and Lino participated to ask Congressman Horsford questions. “Our essential workers play a vital role in moving our country forward in the face of a global health and economic pandemic. They risk their lives each day on the frontlines and fear endangering their children and families when they return home -- we cannot abandon them,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “I’m looking forward to hearing from members of the Culinary Union and discussing the best approach to keep our workers safe.”

Culinary Union files lawsuit against major Las Vegas Strip casinos

Culinary Union files lawsuit against major Las Vegas Strip casino companies in order to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace Las Vegas, NV – Culinary Union has filed a lawsuit against The Signature at the MGM Grand, Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio, and Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s on behalf of Culinary Union members who work in these casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in order to protect workers and their families from the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Culinary Union complaint for injunctive relief here. Since March 1, 2020, 19 Culinary Union members and/or their dependents have died from COVID-19. The Culinary Union is suing these casino companies for injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act regarding hazardous working conditions. The lawsuit alleges casino hotels have not protected workers, their families, and their community from the spread of COVID-19, and that the current rules and procedures for responding to workers contracting COVID-19 have been wholly and dangerously inadequate. “This lawsuit against The Signature at MGM Grand (MGM Resorts International), Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio (MGM Resorts International), and Guy Fieri at Harrah’s (Caesars Entertainment Corporation) is the just the beginning of the Culinary Union’s legal efforts to make sure workers are fully protected,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “The Culinary Union will continue to collect worker statements and evidence regarding unsafe working conditions throughout the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas, and we will support the courageous workers who have come forward to share their experiences” More information & the complaint here:

Helping Hand: Food Assistance Program

Helping Hand program provides food assistance for thousands of hospitality workers and their families. The Culinary and Bartenders’ Unions’ affiliate, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, is proving food assistance for thousands of hospitality workers most affected by casino/hotel closures due to this global crisis. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit the Las Vegas hospitality industry incredibly hard. In less than a month, almost all Las Vegas hospitality workers were laid off or furloughed, including more than 98% of Culinary and Bartenders’ Union families. Workers are facing a severe economic crisis and are struggling to pay for basic needs, especially food. In response to this crisis, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas (CALV) created the Helping Hand program to help meet the high community demand for food assistance. CALV is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a labor-management trust fund which has a Board of Trustees made up of Culinary and Bartenders’ Union leaders and industry employers. The Helping Hand food assistance program provides 2,000 bags of food a day to hospitality workers in need. Each bag contains enough meat, beans, fruits, and vegetables to feed a family of three for 7-10 days. Helping Hand is a safe, drive-through food distribution, where workers picking up food packets don’t get out of their car. All workers at the food assistance site wear personal protective equipment (PPE). There is also a contactless home delivery option for those who don’t have transportation, who are diagnosed with COVID-19, have an underlying medical condition, are under quarantine orders, or are over 65 years or older.

UNITE HERE press conference: Protect casino workers & guests!

Along with all other non-essential business, all casinos in the United States have been closed since March in an attempt to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as some states prepare to reopen, casino workers and their union, UNITE HERE, want to ensure that appropriate public health protections are in place to safeguard both workers and casino guests. “Hundreds of thousands of workers are employed in the gaming industry in the United States, and it is imperative that any plan made to reopen these facilities involves input from both workers and their union,” said UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor, “The health and safety of both workers and casino guests is our union’s top priority, which is why UNITE HERE consulted with public health professionals and industrial hygiene experts to develop a set of public health guidelines for gaming facilities. The casino companies need to work with us to ensure a healthy and safe environment when casinos re-open, and if they won’t, the gaming regulators of the states in which they operate must take action.” UNITE HERE is proposing public health guidelines that include: *Prevention: This includes testing of workers for the virus and antibodies and screening both workers and guests on entry (temperature checks), as well as reducing the number of surfaces that are touched by multiple people. *Protection: PPE should be made widely available to workers and guests alike. Also, steps should be taken to maintain appropriate distancing among guests and workers in each facility. *Enhanced cleaning: More frequent and more intensive cleaning of all surfaces will be necessary. So too will ensuring that workers have the appropriate training and sufficient time to follow cleaning protocols. *Implementation and enforcement: These guidelines will require detailed protocols unique to each gaming facility. Clear lines of authority, accountability, and monitoring must be established. To ensure that workers have a voice in ongoing implementation and enforcement, joint labor-management health and safety committees should be created. “Since March, I’ve stayed home to do my part to flatten the COVID-19 curve and protect my family and my community,” said Gladis Blanco, a guest room attendant at Bellagio, a MGM Resorts International property, “I’m ready to go back to work, and I know my co-workers in CITY and in casinos around the country are too, but we need to know that we’ll be safe when we return. We need the protections that these public health guidelines will provide. Strong protections that keep both workers and guests safe are essential for the re-opening of the gaming industry to be a success.”

Press conference: Protect Workers!

Culinary Union and SEIU 1107 hosted a video press conference calling for stronger protections for workers Las Vegas, NV - Las Vegas labor unions, Culinary Union and SEIU Local 1107, hosted a video press conference calling for stronger protections and personal protective equipment (PPE) for all frontline workers in Nevada. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented national emergency and working families are struggling. Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and SEIU Local 1107 demand that companies step up and do the right thing, and that local and federal government officials ensure workers are protected. WHO: *Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for Culinary Union *Grace Vergara-Mactal, Executive Director SEIU Local 1107 *Brenda Marzan, SEIU 1107 President *Jody Domineck, RN and SEIU 1107 Executive Board Member

UNITE HERE press conference: Don't leave workers behind!

April 9, 2020: UNITE HERE press conference UNITE HERE to host video conference to provide an update on the gaming industry and to call on casino companies to take care of their workers WHAT: Zoom video conference with UNITE HERE union leadership, casino workers, and elected affiliate leaders to discuss the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the gaming industry, which has closed all casinos and dramatically impacted tens of thousands of workers nationwide. UNITE HERE will call on the industry to leverage its unique financial and political position to ensure economic and health care protections for workers. WHO: D. Taylor, UNITE HERE International President Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 — Las Vegas Marlene Patrick Cooper, President of UNITE HERE Local 23 — New Orleans & Biloxi, MS Bob McDevitt, President of UNITE HERE Local 54 — Atlantic City UNITE HERE union members from Biloxi, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City WHY: UNITE HERE members have long worked in the established gaming markets of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Mississippi/Lousiana Gulf Coast. Over 100,000 UNITE HERE members work in the gaming industry, and 100% of them are not working with casinos darkened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some industry leaders have stepped up to ensure workers are taken care of during this crisis, too many others have not.