Conventions are critically important to the Las Vegas economy, and not just the huge expos that take over multiple venues in the resort corridor. The myriad small conferences that come to every hotel every day support many thousands of jobs as well.
Helene Neville, a nurse and four-time cancer survivor who recently moved here, hopes to successfully hold one such small events — if the Culinary Local 226 would have the decency to get out of the way.
As reported by the Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz on Thursday, Ms. Neville has organized an event for the National Nurses Health Institute: Charting a Course for Change. The October gathering is modest, with perhaps 300 health care professionals attending at Red Rock Resort. Ms. Neville chose the venue because the event will be capped by a half-marathon and 5K run at nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
But the Culinary can’t stand for any event, large or small, being held at a nonunion Station Casinos property. The Culinary has been battling Station and the Fertitta family for years, to the point that it harasses anyone who does business with any Station entity. Ms. Neville would not provide specifics, but she said Culinary representatives have called and emailed speakers for her event, asking them to boycott. And they haven’t been nice. The communications have “bordered on harassment. They have been threatening,” she said.
If this were a basketball game, the Culinary would have fouled out. This is a private-sector union that needs private businesses to expand and succeed for Culinary members to have a higher standard of living. The Culinary’s campaign against Station, coupled with its veiled threats of strikes at union properties, bloodies the nose of Las Vegas tourism, including union workers who rely on tips for their livelihood.
The Culinary’s end game is the unionization of Station Casinos, despite the company’s frequent ranking as one of the best companies in the country to work for. But the union knows its only chance at organizing the company is card check, because that would allow the intimidation of Station employees. If the Culinary had any good faith, it would knock off the harassment, request a secret-ballot vote and live with the outcome — which assuredly would be against unionization.
In this economy, it’s disappointing to see Culinary continually take a position that no jobs are better than nonunion jobs, and that haranguing tourists and conventioneers is a means to an end. The union and its members owe their standard of living to the travel and tourism industry. It’s time for them to start acting like it.