About 200 Culinary Local 226 members and their supporters were arrested late Thursday for blocking two lanes of traffic on Sahara Avenue in front of Palace Station in the largest demonstration held this year against Station Casinos LLC.
The union has staged three demonstrations to protest what it calls Station Casinos’ poor treatment of Latino workers — a charge the company roundly disputes.
Las Vegas Police Department Capt. Larry Burns said about 1,500 union members and supporters participated in the protest.
The protest was also designed to draw attention to the company’s "failure to provide wage increases and retirement contributions, and higher costs for worker health plans," union spokeswoman Yvanna Cancela said.
However, Station Casinos Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley rebutted the union’s claims of anti-Latino discrimination.
"The Culinary union’s recent accusations concerning discrimination against Latinos is not only insulting but is their most disgusting lie yet," Kelley said in an emailed statement.
"The accusations are as phony as they are false as the company has long been heralded as an employer of choice in the gaming industry and throughout Las Vegas and prides itself on treating its 13,000 team members fairly, and with dignity and respect," Kelley also said in the statement.
In its statement, Station Casinos defended its hiring practice and said:
■ Some 26 percent of the total Las Vegas work force is Hispanic or Latino and Station Casinos’ work force is 26 percent Hispanic or Latino.
■ Just over 10 percent of all managers in the Las Vegas work force are Hispanic or Latino while nearly 15 percent of managers at Station Casinos are Hispanic or Latino.
■ Station Casinos has provided thousands of team members with free programs to improve the quality of their lives outside of work for themselves and their families, including assistance in becoming a U.S citizen, home ownership that includes free down payment assistance and English as a Second Language, to name a few.
The Culinary has been trying unsuccessfully for about 15 years to unionize some 13,000 workers at the 18 hotel-casinos either owned or managed by Station Casinos.
The union’s latest organizing campaign aimed at the gaming company began in February.
The Feb. 17 demonstration ended with 22 union members being arrested for blocking an entrance to Palace Station. On March 24, a two-mile march from Culinary headquarters at 1630 S. Commerce St. to Palace Station culminated in the arrests of 100 people for blocking an entrance to the casino.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at email@example.com or 702-477-3893.