D. Taylor Leaves as President of Unite Here, Nevada Workers Still a Priority

Posted on: April 2, 2024, 07:45h. 

Last updated on: April 2, 2024, 09:02h.

Donald “D.” Taylor, who was once a key leader of the Las Vegas-based Culinary Union, has stepped down as head of the powerful workers’ group, Unite Here.

Donald “D.” Taylor
Donald “D.” Taylor, pictured above has stepped down as Unite Here’s president but will continue to work on Nevada labor activities. (Image: Unite Here)

Taylor will stay on as chair of Unite Here Health, the national umbrella labor organization announced on Monday, and will continue to work on Nevada union activity.

Focus on Hospitality Sector

“I believe the next generation of leaders should get their shot,” Taylor, 67, told the Nevada Independent on Monday when asked about his decision.

I’m not retiring and I’m not going to stop working,” Taylor added. “I think I can be helpful with gaming and other locations, based on my relationships here in Nevada.”

He predicted the Culinary Union could soon see an additional 10K to 15K members if more hospitality workers choose to affiliate with the union.

Taylor first joined Unite Here in the 1970s when he was working at a restaurant while a student at Georgetown University. In the early 1980s, Taylor’s union career started when he worked for the Culinary Union in Reno and Tahoe, Nev. A few years later, he was a key leader of the 1984 strike in Las Vegas.

In 2002, Taylor became secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union. During his watch, union membership skyrocketed from 17K to 55K and the union grew in statewide, and even national, power and influence. Unite Here picked Taylor as its president in 2012.

Praise for Taylor

Word of the change in leadership at Unite Here led to compliments for Taylor.

“His 40-year legacy of advocating and winning for working families made our union the militant organizing and political powerhouse that it is today,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said in response to Taylor’s decision to step down. “D. has been a steadfast champion of worker and immigrant rights, health care reform, and has personally spearheaded innovative language at the bargaining table,” Papageorge added.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 represent 60K workers in Nevada. Many members work at casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. Members are employed in such jobs as bartenders, bellmen, cocktail and food servers, cooks, guest room attendants, laundry and kitchen workers, and porters.

Unite Here currently has some 300K members nationwide. The 89-year-old Culinary Union and many other unions are affiliated with Unite Here.