For immediate release
February 12, 2016
Culinary Union Plans Nonviolent Civil Disobedience and Mass Arrests at Palace Station
Las Vegas, NV – On Friday, February 12, 2016, at 5 pm, clergy leaders, community allies, hundreds of Culinary Union members, workers from Station Casinos, Palms Casino, Aliante Casino, and Trump Hotel Las Vegas will demonstrate at Palace Station Hotel & Casino to protest the unfair treatment of workers by Station Casinos.
Sheriff Joe “Arpaio” Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department has unconstitutionally denied the request to use the streets in front of Palace Station for the demonstration. In response, the Culinary Union plans to engage in a nonviolent civil disobedience action, which is expected to lead to mass arrests.
“This blatant attempt by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department to suppress the voice of the people is shameful. We will exercise our constitutional right to free speech and peaceful assembly as we have been doing for 80 years,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We will fight to protect the right to demonstrate and will continue to picket bad employers, just like Station Casinos.”
Culinary Union officials met with LVMPD earlier this week to ensure safety of all participants as there are plans for several large-scale demonstrations and events in the coming months. Captain John McGrath told Culinary Union representatives, “There is a new sheriff in town” and that the Culinary Union’s routine requests for permits were going to be completely denied.
The Culinary Union believes this behavior by Sheriff Joe “Arpaio” Lombardo and the LVMPD treat union members and their supporters as second-class citizens who are discriminated against because of their advocacy for fair working conditions at companies like Station Casinos, an anti-union employer that is the worst labor law violator in the history of the Nevada gaming industry.
Sheriff Joe “Arpaio” Lombardo has received $105,000 from Station Casinos properties, its employees and affiliates, and other Fertitta companies. Lombardo has stated publically during his recent campaign that he considers former Sheriff Bill Young, and now vice-president of security for Station Casinos, a mentor.
The National Labor Relations Board found Station Casinos guilty of violating its employees’ rights 88 times – which is the most ever in the history of any Nevada gaming company. A majority of Station workers -in classifications represented by the Culinary and Bartenders Unions- have signed a petition calling for a fair process to decide whether to unionize free from Station Casinos’ management interference, intimidation, bullying, and litigation.
Thousands of union and Station Casinos workers have previously rallied and picketed at several Station Casinos properties. Station Casinos is the fourth largest private-sector employer in Las Vegas. It has nine large hotel-casinos located throughout Las Vegas. There is a major labor dispute at the following Station Casinos properties: Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, Palace Station, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent over 57,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.
The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with over 57,000 members – a diverse membership that is approximately 55% women and 56% Latino. Members -who work as guest room attendants, bartenders, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, and kitchen workers- come from 167 countries and speak over 40 different languages. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for working men and women in Nevada for 80 years.
The Culinary Union is encouraging Nevada locals, members of the media, political candidates, and Las Vegas tourists to avoid staying at/or patronizing hotels under an active labor dispute such as Station Casinos, Palms Casino Resort, and the Trump Hotel Las Vegas. To see the full list properties with an active labor dispute, go to: VegasTravelAlert.org.