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September 22, 2014

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1,500 rally in latest Culinary effort to pressure Station

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L.E. Baskow

Culinary and Bartenders union members with Station Casino workers and local faith leaders march from George E. Harris Elementary to Boulder Station to rally in support of fair jobs on Friday, August 29, 2014.

Union March to Boulder Station

Culinary and Bartenders union members, Station Casino works and local faith leaders are marching from George E. Harris Elementary to Boulder Station to rally in support of fair jobs on Friday, August 29, 2014. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas casino workers, faith leaders and others marched to a rally at Boulder Station today in protest of what they described as unfair labor practices from Station Casinos.

The demonstrators called on Station to provide a “fair process” to allow workers to decide whether to unionize, a familiar point of tension between the locals-focused casino company and organized labor. The protest was organized by the Culinary Union Local 226, which represents 55,000 casino workers in Las Vegas and Reno.

Geoconda Arguello Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer, said Station doesn’t take care of its own workers.

“They pretend to be a good company all over town, but what happens if you have your family, and you don’t take care of your own family, and you take care of everybody else? That’s exactly the example of what Station Casinos is doing,” she said.

The protest was the latest installment in a yearslong fight between Culinary and Station over labor issues.

Friday’s demonstration began at about 5 p.m. at George E. Harris Elementary School. Protesters, many of them clad in red and carrying signs decrying Station, marched from there down Sandhill Road before making their way over to Boulder Highway and eventually Boulder Station.

There, they listened to prayer and speeches from local clergy, labor leaders and casino employees.

Organizers estimated that about 1,500 people participated in the march and rally.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said that if the company’s workers want to unionize, all they have to do is vote.

“This is just another union bully tactic aimed at pressuring our company into depriving our employees of their right to a secret ballot election,” Nelson said. “The decision to join a union belongs to our team members, and we respect that right.”

Nelson pointed to the fact that at Boulder Station, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, more than 100 current workers have been there since the casino opened. She said that “speaks volumes as to how employees feel working at Boulder Station.”

But workers have said that Station’s claims are disingenuous. Casiano Corpus, a Palace Station maintenance employee who’s worked there 22 years, said Station management has intimidated and harassed workers.

“We just want a fair process,” he said. “We want to provide a better life for our families.”

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