In order to ensure ease of participation for tens of thousands of Las Vegas casino workers in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses on Saturday, Senator Harry Reid has had discussions with D. Taylor, the head of the state’s most powerful union.
In an interview on Thursday with The New York Times, Reid said he had spoken with the president of the Culinary Workers Union, Unite Here. The largest local of UNITE HERE, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas, has approximately 57,000 members, more than any other union in Nevada, with more than half being Latino. The union has enormous power in Nevada and this year has declined to endorse a presidential candidate. In the interview Reid said that organizers will be at the caucus to guide people and that Taylor has been “extremely cooperative.”
Supporters of Hillary Clinton, particularly, have expressed concerns over the caucus’s format making it difficult for low-wage workers who have to find child care and leave their jobs in order to publicly support a candidate. Because the union is entering contract negotiations it decided not to endorse a candidate, although Bernie Sanders as well as Clinton have courted the Culinary Workers. That leaves both candidates to wrangle for the support of the union’s members who are the bartenders, card dealers and cocktail waitresses who help to make Las Vegas run.
Early Thursday, Clinton visited the employee quarters of Caesars Palace hotel and casino and asked for the workers’ support. She told the workers that they were staying there, so she thought she’d see who was working. During the visit Clinton asked one housekeeper about her hours and what she did during them.
Six of Las Vegas’ major casinos will hold caucuses’ on Saturday. Caesars Palace, Harrah’s and Rio are included in the six. Reid said of the union, “They are letting employees off with pay to go to the caucuses.”