Democratic Presidential Hopeful Castro Urges Station Casinos to Recognize Culinary Workers Right to Unionize

Posted on: July 9, 2019, 12:14h. 

Last updated on: July 9, 2019, 12:14h.

Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro is stepping into the long-running battle between Red Rock Resorts Inc. and the Culinary Workers Union (CWU), urging the gaming company to support workers’ rights to unionize.

Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro supports Station Casinos workers’ union efforts. (Image: Vox)

Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Station Casinos, of which Red Rock is the parent company, engaged in unfair labor practices and refused to negotiate with culinary workers in good faith.

I want to commend the culinary union for the great work that they’re doing representing employees of Station Casino,” said Castro in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday. “I want to encourage Station Casinos and your six properties to negotiate in good faith with your workers who have already voted to unionize.”

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Obama, made the remarks during a campaign swing through Nevada.

Ongoing Tussle

Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties include the Palace Station, Palms, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station and the Texas Station.

Workers at various Station properties voted to unionize, a decision the company refuses to recognize and the tensions escalated when 1,000 staffers recently hit the picket line outside the Palms. The effort by Station culinary employees in Las Vegas to gain organized labor protection dates back to April 2018. There are more than 50,000 casino resort workers across 34 Strip and downtown properties that are members of the Las Vegas Culinary Union.

Station has a spotty history with organized and has clashed with union at some of its other Nevada properties. In 2017, the company tussled with the Culinary Union at the Green Valley Ranch casino-resort in Henderson. Workers there voted to unionize in November 2017 and a year later, the NLRB accused management of unfair labor practices.

Following the recent picket line fiasco at the Palms, Station Casinos said it has a legal right to contend NLRB decisions.

Political Gold

“The most valuable resource of any company are its employees, and I hope you will treat them right,” said Castro in his Twitter video.

Castro embracing Nevada’s casino-resort union workers could be a sound political investment. With 50,000-plus members in the Las Vegas area, the group has the political juice to carry candidates and affect election outcomes.

In her November 2018 Election Night victory speech, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) overtly mentioned Culinary 226, the Las Vegas chapter of the union, chanting “226, 226, 226” on stage.

For the 2020 presidential election cycle, Nevada’s Democratic caucus is third on the calendar after the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, bringing added importance to the Silver State.

Castro and several other Democratic contenders, including Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), visited the state over Fourth of July weekend,

A Monmouth University poll released last month shows former Vice President Joe Biden commanding support of 36 percent among those expected to attend the Nevada Democratic caucus, followed by Warren at 19 percent.