Hotel workers parading the Las Vegas Strip

Thousands of chefs, housekeepers, bartenders, bellboys and waiters who are members of the Culinary Union marched along the Strip Friday night to urge casinos to call them back to work.

Culinary Local 226 said 21,000 members, or 35%, had been out of work locally since the start of the pandemic, according to a union statement. Local 226 represents 300,000 workers in the gaming, hotel and restaurant industries in North America, including 60,000 members from Las Vegas.

“Stop working with a small team,” said Mario Sandoval, a former Binion server who was fired in March 2020 after 36 years at the casino. “We are ready to work. The tourists are there. Bring us back.

He found a part-time job in July, but said he quit when told Binion’s would need him again that same month. He was never called back to return to work.

“Even as a customer, I come in to play and I can’t even have a drink,” he said. “There are no functioning cocktail servers.”

Housekeeper Regina Wright said many of her coworkers still don’t know if they were fired because they were fired 18 months ago and remain in limbo.

“It’s time for the employees to come back,” she said, noting how busy the Strip was on Friday night. “We’re busy again.”

Union members chanted “daily room cleaning”, “union power” and “si se puede” – “yes we can” – as they walked north and south through several lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard .

“We want customers; we are ready to serve, ”union spokesperson Bethany Khan said. “We are here to educate Las Vegas and the world. We want to go back to work. We are ready to serve, clean and disinfect.

The union did not target specific casinos as Khan said every casino in Las Vegas employs union members in some capacity.

“We want them all to come back to work,” said housekeeper Viola Varor. “I came back last year, but most people weren’t called.

Union secretary Geoconda Arguello-Kline rallied the group after the march, leading a “back to work” song.

“We have 65% of people returning to work, but we still have 21,000 people at home,” she said. “We want full housekeeping, full service restaurants. Invite everyone in Vegas to say, “We want full service again. “

Arguello-Kline estimated that around 5,000 union members marched on Friday evening.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. To follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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