Las Vegas Casino Workers to Participate in Democratic Caucuses at Workplaces

Posted on: February 21, 2020, 09:51h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2020, 11:04h.

Six Las Vegas gaming properties will be among the sites for Nevada Democratic caucuses Saturday for choosing a presidential candidate. Members of the Culinary Workers Union and nearby residents are expected to take part during their lunch breaks.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was among several Democratic presidential candidates who took part in a Culinary Workers Union picket this week at the Palms. Biden’s campaign staff is hoping his support in Saturday’s Nevada caucus will help propel his stagnant campaign. (Image: NBC News)

The casinos that will be the site of a caucus include Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Paris, Park MGM, Rio, and Wynn. Caucus registration begins at 10 am. The caucus starts at noon and may last until about 2 pm.

Having caucuses at the casinos makes it more convenient for hotel and casino employees who work on Saturday and may find it difficult to get back to their neighborhood caucus locations. In order to take part in a caucus, participants need to be registered Democrats.

Jacob George, a cook at Park MGM, said in a Culinary Union Facebook page, “Having a voting site next to our employee dining room on the Strip is really meaningful for my co-workers and I, who want to participate in the first-in-the-west caucus.”

Many members of the Culinary Union already voted during early voting days held this week, Bethany Khan, a union spokeswoman, told on Friday. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 Las Vegas headquarters was an early voting location over four days.

Some 2,500 people took part in the caucus at the headquarters, Khan said. Most were union members, she added.

“Culinary Union members see the caucuses at the first step in defeating Donald Trump … on Election Day,” Khan added on Friday. She confirmed, too, that union members are excited about the caucus process, especially with the national attention the union received, such as during this week’s debate held in Las Vegas.

The politically influential union, with approximately 60,000 members in Nevada, chose not to endorse a candidate among the Democratic contenders. Instead, it is focusing on defeating President Trump.

In recent weeks, some supporters of national front-runner Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders got into a dispute with the union over members’ concern on what might happen to their health insurance plan if Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan was adopted.

More moderate Democratic candidates pledge to let unions and other organizations keep their health insurance coverage, even if a public insurance option were enacted.

Democratic Candidates Show Support for Union Picket

Five of the seven leading Democratic presidential candidates took part in a union picket at the Palms this week, where Culinary Workers Union members are struggling to get their first contract.

These include former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Tom Steyer, an entrepreneur.

Following the picket, Buttigieg tweeted: “Proud to stand with the cooks, servers, bartenders, and housekeepers of @Culinary226 as they stand up for their right to organize.”

Sanders and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not attend the picket.

The Palms is owned by Station Casinos, which is co-owned by brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who are financial supporters of Trump’s campaign and other Republican causes.

Trump Reaches Out to Hispanic Voters

Meanwhile, Republicans are not holding a caucus in Nevada. That is seen as a sign of the party’s support for Trump.

The president was in the state this week before the Democratic caucuses. During a rally, he made a pitch to the state’s Hispanic voters, noting the low unemployment rate among Hispanics during his presidency.

The Nevada caucuses may show the Democratic candidates’ support among Hispanic voters. The Hill reported they could represent up to one-fifth of the primary electorate in Nevada. The Culinary Union’s Nevada membership is 54 percent Latino.