Powerful Las Vegas Union Plans Town Halls With Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders

Posted on: December 4, 2019, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: December 4, 2019, 10:28h.

Three Democratic 2020 frontrunners who are robust union supporters will each hold a town hall next week with the most powerful workers group in Las Vegas.

Las Vega union 2020 odds
Joe Biden and two of his closest 2020 Democratic challengers are making a trip to Las Vegas next week to meet with union members. (Image: Christopher DeVargas/AP)

Unite Here – a nationwide labor union in the US and Canada with approximately 300,000 members – will welcome former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the union’s local headquarters at 1630 South Commerce Street in Las Vegas.

Warren will go first on Monday, Sanders on Tuesday, and Biden on Wednesday. Las Vegas is home to Unite Here’s largest local unions – Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165. Collectively, they represent 60,000 members in Las Vegas and Reno employed in the gaming and hospitality industries.

On political betting exchange PredictIt, Biden is the frontrunner to secure the Democratic Party nomination, his shares trading at 27 cents. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg – who isn’t on the Union town hall schedule, is next at 20 cents.

Warren and Sanders are respectively third and fourth at 18 cents and 16 cents.

Union Policies

The three Democratic candidates arriving in Las Vegas are all considered staunch union supporters.

Biden’s Appeal: $15 minimum wage, and regulations that make it harder for businesses to classify workers as independent contracts rather than employees. The former VP also endorses giving workers more leverage to organize in the workplace. In October, he urged Station Casinos to immediately negotiate with employees who voted to unionize at four of its casinos.

Warren’s Appeal: The senator’s labor plan, she says, would “pursue the most progressive and comprehensive agenda for workers since the New Deal.” Warren’s proposal would bolster collective bargaining rights, increase the minimum wage, extend overtime eligibility, and impose fines on companies that violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Sanders’s Appeal: The perennial presidential candidate wants to “at least double” union membership in the United States and “substantially raise wages.” The Vermont senator supports a European-style system of collective bargaining where minimum standards are set for an entire industry, as compared to each company negotiating separately.

Us Against Trump

The general theme for the three town halls will presumably be anti-Trump. The president has been criticized by his opponents for allegedly being against unions.

The largest casino operator in Las Vegas that has successfully blocked its employees from unionizing is Las Vegas Sands. the owner of The Venetian and Palazzo. The company is owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Trump’s largest campaign supporter.

Trump ruffled union feathers in July when he nominated Eugene Scalia to head the Department of Labor. As an attorney and lobbyist, Scalia worked on behalf of Walmart, UPS, and Ford in fighting against workers rights claims.

Walmart is the largest US employer with 2.3 million employees. UPS is No. 3 with more than 456,000 workers.

The mission of the Labor Department is to ‘foster, promote and develop the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees.’ But President Trump has appointed one corporatist after another to head the agency,” United Steelworkers VP Roxanne Brow said in July.

“And Trump’s new nominee, Eugene Scalia, is one of the worst yet,” she opined. Scalia is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.