Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 | 2 a.m.
Editor’s note: The following guest column was written by Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary treasurer of Culinary Union, and members of the union.
Culinary Union members make our city. We are the cooks who make your food from downtown diners to five-star Strip restaurants. We clean the casino floors, make your drinks, and deliver your towels, sheets and pillows. We are the backbone of the industry, and we make Las Vegas a world-renowned travel destination.
For 85 years, Culinary Union members have fought hard to build our union, protect our health care, and create a great standard of living for working families across the state of Nevada. Today, we stand on the shoulders of those who walked picket lines, went on strike and sacrificed so that our jobs could remain good jobs.
Right now, we are on the front lines fighting for the future of our city and the future of our country. We are mobilizing tens of thousands of our coworkers to vote in the election and knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors to make sure we defeat President Donald Trump.
Under this administration, we have seen our families separated, racism go unchecked, and our right to live and love freely come under attack. But we are making sure it does not continue.
• “We need to stop cruelty toward people of color and immigrants. We need our families to be reunited, and we can’t have that with Trump.” — Norberto Meniano, cook at BLT Steak at Bally’s
• “I’m fighting to take back the White House from Trump because he is anti-union, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQIA.” — Mariza Rocha, utility porter at the Strat
Culinary Union members have knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors this election season, and we will push forward until every vote is counted. We are resolved to swear in a government for and by the people.
• “I’m fighting to take back our basic human rights, and equality for all.” — Atilano Salgado,cook at Harrah’s
As we battle for our country’s future, the Culinary Union is also demanding that all workers — union and nonunion — have the right to return to our jobs when business resumes. We have called upon the Clark County Commission to pass a Right to Return ordinance that would require our employers to offer workers the right to return to their jobs when our workplaces reopen.
• “Right now, all I have is the dream of returning to work, but I could have hope, too, if I was guaranteed to have my job back when the restaurant reopens. Hope can take me a long way.” — Mario Sandoval, food server at Binion’s in downtown Las Vegas
Working families have weathered economic hardships after 9/11 and the 2008 recession, and heartbreak when our places of work became the site of the deadliest shooting in American history on Oct. 1, 2017. We never turned our backs on our city. We stood together Vegas Strong. Now, we ask our employers and local government officials to do the same during this global pandemic.
• “I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and I’ve seen our community come together during the hardest of times. This is one of those times where we all need to come together again. We need to take care of each other. It’s time to act.”— Matthew (no last name given), bartender at Fiesta Henderson
Together, there is nothing we cannot endure and nothing we cannot achieve. That’s why over 400 laid off hospitality workers have been knocking on doors every day since Aug. 1 to get out the vote, and why tens of thousands of us have come together in a coalition to save our jobs and the future of the Las Vegas economy.
Culinary Union members are taking back our future. We will knock on hundreds of thousands of doors, caravan by the tens of thousands, enforce the first-in-the-nation COVID-19 worker safety law, fight to save jobs, and do everything every day until Election Day and beyond to protect our future.
We are the Culinary Union, and we are taking back 2020. Join us.