At a huge rally in Las Vegas last Friday, over 5,000 members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 committed to fight for a fair, new contract and received the support of presidential candidates. Local 226 is negotiating new contracts covering over 50,000 workers employed in Las Vegas casinos. The workers’ current contract expires May 31. Raising wages, maintaining free healthcare, and preserving the ‘Las Vegas Dream’ are among the union?s top priorities.
Accompanied on stage by members clad in red UNITE HERE gear, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, addressed the boisterous crowd, promising to stand with union members during their contract fight. The candidate appearances also underscored Local 226’s importance in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. As the Las Vegas Sun put it, with Nevada’s Presidential Caucus scheduled for early 2008, "the road to Democratic victory next January is probably going to go through a union hall on Commerce Street in downtown Las Vegas."