Posted on: March 17, 2022, 07:16h.
Last updated on: March 17, 2022, 07:16h.
The leading casino union in Las Vegas has a trio of new leaders. Their appointments come after Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline announced last month that she would be stepping down after leading the powerful gaming industry union for the past 10 years.
Officially the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 — more commonly referred to as simply the Culinary Union — the labor organization is an affiliate of the national UNITE HERE labor association. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in the gaming, hotel, and foodservice industries in North America. The local Culinary Union speaks for 60,000 people employed by casino resorts in Las Vegas and Reno.
Argüello-Kline’s last day was February 3. The union announced the filling of her big shoes with the appointment of Ted Pappageorge as secretary-treasurer — the union’s top spot.
As a former bartender, I am proud to be a union member for 40 years. I’ve seen what workers can accomplish together and how Nevada has changed because our union has been militant about not allowing working families to be left behind,” Pappageorge said in prepared remarks supplied to Casino.org.
“Working families in Nevada are resilient because of the strength and sacrifices made by generations of Culinary Union members who have come before us,” he added.
Pappageorge is being promoted from Culinary Union president, a position he has held since 2012.
Culinary Union members work in a variety of non-gaming positions, including housekeepers, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and kitchen help, bartenders, and laundry. The union claims to have a diverse membership that is 55% women and 54% Latinx.
Union Hopes to Pull Into Station Casinos
The Culinary Union represents the vast majority of casino resort workers on the Las Vegas Strip — the two major exceptions being The Venetian and Palazzo properties. The union additionally negotiates contract terms and labor agreements for casino employees throughout Southern Nevada and in Reno.
One of the union’s largest foes is Station Casinos and Red Rock Resorts. The majority of the locals-focused casinos controlled by the billionaire Fertitta family remain union-free.
The Fertittas and Culinary have been at odds for many years. The two are currently engaged in numerous pieces of litigation, the most notable being a case involving the National Labor Relations Board claiming Red Rock Casino purposely interfered with a unionization election.
Unionizing Station and RRR casinos are among Culinary’s immediate missions.
Along with Pappageorge, the casino union will embark on its 2022 goals being led by Culinary Union President Diana Valles and Vice President Leain Vashon. Those two were also appointed to their new roles with the Pappageorge seating.
Valles has been a Culinary dues payer for 34 years, and previously worked as a guestroom attendant, porter, and cook. Vashon has been a Culinary union member for 45 years. He’s currently the bell captain at Paris Las Vegas.