Ed. Note:  As outlined in the press release immediately below, the influential Culinary Workers Union Local 226, did not make an endorsement.  However, Jon Ralston, the veteran Nevada political reporter and commentator, convincingly argues that a late intervention from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (also neutral) and the union was critical to delivering a huge margin for Clinton in Clark County.  The second release below shows that the Sanders campaign did get on the wrong side of the union.

See: Jon Ralston.  "Harry Reid delivers for Hillary Clinton," USA Today, Feb. 21, 2016.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226

February 15, 2016


Bethany Khan

Culinary Union Focused on Organizing and Citizenship Work during Nevada Caucus

Las Vegas, NV – This month, Democratic and Republican Caucuses will take place in Nevada. The Culinary Union, the largest affiliate of UNITE HERE, and one of the strongest political forces in the state will be focused on contract negotiations for 48,000 union members, new organizing campaigns for over 8,500 workers, and one of the largest citizenship drives in the country.

The Culinary Union and UNITE HERE, the national hospitality workers union, has not made an endorsement ahead of the presidential caucus. The Culinary Union is instead spending the next six months building internal strength before the general election by committing to registering 12,000 union members to vote and removing barriers for 2,500 workers to become citizens this year.

Over the next few weeks, workers will rally at Sunrise Hospital and intensify voter registration and citizenship drive efforts. Shift workers and the leader of the Culinary Union, Geoconda Arguello-Kline, will be available for interviews in English and Spanish. To attend any of the events below or to schedule interviews, please contact Bethany Khan.

  • Thursday, February 18 at 5PM – Picket at Sunrise Hospital (3186 South Maryland Parkway Las Vegas, NV)

Hundreds of Union Members to Picket at Sunrise Hospital to Protest HCA’s Stalled Negotiations Involving Affordable Patient Care

LAS VEGAS -Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 5 pm PT, the Culinary Union and the Bartenders Union, along with several other Las Vegas-area unions, will hold a demonstration in front of Sunrise Hospital to protest Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) negotiation stall tactics.

Culinary Union and Bartender Union members receive their health insurance through Culinary Health Fund, which is in a coalition with 13 other Trust Funds that combined provide health insurance for 275,000 members, including firefighters, police, construction workers, and hotel workers. Union members covered by the Trust Funds in the Coalition are expected to join the demonstration.

The event will highlight the need for reasonable rates to continue affordable patient care for members and their families at a sustainable cost. The unions have no intention to cause a work stoppage and do not expect this to occur.  The demonstration will have no effect on patient care. 

All Democratic presidential candidates and elected officials from across the state have been invited. Hundreds of protestors are expected.

More info: http://www.culinaryunion226.org/news/press/hundreds-of-union-members-to-picket-at-sunrise-hospital-to-protest-hcas-stalled-negotiations-involving-affordable-patient-care

  • Tuesday, February 23 – GOP Caucus

A majority of employees at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas voted to be represented by the Culinary and Bartenders Unions in December 2015.

The Trump Hotel Las Vegas has since filed objections to the vote held by their employees. The Culinary Union calls upon the company to bargain a fair contract immediately.

Employees from the Trump Hotel Las Vegas’ Negotiating Committee are prepared to negotiate a union contract the night of the GOP Caucus with the “Chief Negotiator” and 50% owner of the Trump Hotel Las Vegas – Donald Trump.

Please RSVP to Bethany for access and details.

  • Thursday, February 25 – Citizenship Project Training Day (1630 S. Commerce Street Las Vegas, NV)

The Culinary Union will launch one of the largest citizenship drives in the country with a day of training from 9-11am and 5-7pm.

Over 300 volunteers, community partner Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and members will gather at the Culinary Union throughout the day to train and prepare to process 2,500 citizenship applications before May 1.

The first scheduled Citizenship Project Fair is Saturday, March 5.


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 members of the media, political candidates, and caucus participants 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.

January 28, 2106

Culinary Union statement regarding Sanders campaign staff in employee dining rooms:

We can confirm multiple reports of Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffers attempting and gaining access to Employee Dining Rooms at Las Vegas Strip properties where over 57,000 members that we represent work.

We are disappointed and offended. It's completely inappropriate for any campaign to attempt to mislead Culinary Union members, especially at their place of work.

The Culinary Union button that hundreds of thousands of union members have proudly worn to work every day represents 80 years of struggle and fighting for justice. We strongly condemn anyone falsifying their affiliation with the Culinary Union in order to gain access to properties and we will cooperate with casinos and hotels so that this matter is fully resolved.

The Culinary Union has not made an endorsement and is focused on a major citizenship and voter registration campaign while preparing for upcoming contract negotiations.

Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union