As Station bashes union bosses, labor advocates step back from plates

The Culinary union and Station Casinos continue to grapple for position in their labor battle with each side taking different approaches in an effort to win over public opinion.

The casino company lately has benefited from bruising television ads and mailers that depict the union’s bosses as irresponsible with members’ dues.

“While Nevadans were out of work and families lost income, Culinary Bosses spent millions of workers’ dues money to live the high life,” roars one mailer paid for by the “Workers Rights Coalition.”

The coalition isn’t officially associated with the company, at least not through the secretary of state’s office. Something tells me it’s not the same Workers’ Rights Coalition that is affiliated with Fordham Law School, the one that is dedicated to “social justice issues in the workplace.”

So far, Culinary officials have refrained from detailing the lifestyle of the Fertitta family, which has built the casino company into a locals gaming giant that employs thousands of service workers.

Meanwhile, Station workers who are backing the union started a fast on Wednesday outside Palace Station on West Sahara Avenue. The union has scheduled events and speakers during the workers’ action.

Notes the union on its website, “Fasting is difficult, but we want to send a message to Station Casinos that casino workers have a right to work without fear and to be treated with respect!”

Whether a group of fasting service workers grabs the attention of the public remains to be seen.

MACAU GAMBIT: For author and longtime UNLV public administration professor William Thompson, the question of Macau’s place in the portfolios of Nevada casino licensees is an important one. But the fact triad organized crime families have traditionally had the run of the gambling paradise seems overrated.

Sure, there’s influence, he said in a recent interview, but not like there once was. The Chinese government saw to that when it assumed power there at the turn of the century.

“Before the Chinese takeover, there was a period of two, three years with a lot of murders in Macau,” said Thompson, who studies and writes about the subject. “Macau is a very safe place now to walk. When China came in, it really clamped down on the triads.”

PAC MAN: His favorite presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is kaput, but casino multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson hasn’t missed a beat in making big donations to political super PACS. In February, Adelson cut a
$5 million check to the GOP’s Congressional Leadership Fund. That makes $21.5 million Adelson and family have invested in the current campaign cycle.

In the Huffington Post, Paul Blumenthal writes that the donation “solidifies Adelson’s place as the most influential donor so far this cycle and shows that Republican donors will not focus all of their attention, and money, on the presidential race.”

What’s the over-under on how much Adelson ends up spending before November?

SILLY HALL: So the Las Vegas City Council voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve controversial former councilmen Michael McDonald and Frank Hawkins to receive $11 million in public subsidies to develop a senior housing project at a time the valley is flooded with empty homes.

Readers are invited to send their cynical one-liners to me at the email address below.

COP LIT: Former Metro Lt. Debra Gauthier has just published a revealing memoir of her life, police career and spiritual growth called “Bright Lights, Dark Places.” Gauthier spent 21 years at Metro.

TONY TOWN: Something called “Delivering Happiness” takes place from 4-7 p.m. Friday starting at The Beat coffeehouse at 520 Fremont St. The lightheartedness is inspired by boss Tony Hsieh’s book of the same name.

It’s another reminder that Hsieh is bigger than Vegas Vic these days downtown.

ON THE BOULEVARD: If trucks at Cashman Field are busy unloading sports bags, T-shirts, cowbells and kegs of Budweiser, it means one of three things: Rapacious GSA employees donated their unused party favors following their scandalous conference at M Resort; hundreds of shirtless, beer-drinking dairy farmers are coming to town for a convention; or the Las Vegas 51s are preparing to start an eight-game homestand.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at

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