STATEMENT by Geoconda Argüello-Kline regarding President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan:
Since March 2020, the Culinary Union has been fighting to protect hospitality workers and their families during the COVID-19 crisis.
Over a year later, it’s clear that there has been no organization in Nevada that has done what the Culinary Union has done to protect workers, extend health care for 18 months, keep working families in their homes, provide essential food assistance daily, enforce worker’s rights on-the-job, deliver Nevada for Biden/Harris and pass much-needed relief for Nevadans, ensure workers are safe at work by passing the first and only-in-the-nation COVID worker safety law (SB4), and win SB3866 in the Nevada Legislature so hospitality workers can have the Right to Return to their jobs as the economy recovers.
The Culinary Union was the first organization in Nevada to call for a mask mandate in early May 2020 and we continue to follow the guidance of the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of July 30, 2021 per the Governor’s Emergency Directive 047, all persons in counties with substantial or high community transmission rates will be required to wear face coverings while in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status – that includes Clark County.
The Culinary Union commends President Biden for his leadership and for releasing a comprehensive COVID-19 action plan.
The CDC recently released studies that said unvaccinated Americans are 4.5 times more likely to become infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals. The Culinary Union is supportive of more comprehensive measures to ensure all Americans and Nevadans are vaccinated and urges those who are not yet vaccinated to get the vaccine – it is the best way to protect you, your family, our community, our hospitality jobs, and our State’s industries – and the only way a full recovery post-COVID is possible.
Hospitality workers have had access to the COVID-19 vaccine since March 11, 2021. As hospitality workers and their family members continue to get the vaccine, the Culinary Union continues to encourage workers to take advantage of on-site vaccine clinics at work whenever they are available.
The Culinary Union has held several virtual town halls in English and Spanish with thousands of workers over the past few months to hear directly from doctors, Immunize Nevada, Governor Sisolak, Culinary Health Fund, and health care professionals, to answer questions hospitality workers have about the vaccine, side effects, and fact checking myths.
Over the past year, the Culinary Union has also sent out hundreds of thousands of emails/texts messages educating Culinary Union members and Station Casinos workers about the vaccine, notifying hospitality workers when they were newly eligible for the vaccine, informing employees about specific on-site vaccination opportunities at work, and letting the community know when special vaccination events are available.
The Culinary Union will remain vigilant to ensure workers are protected at work, are actively negotiating with gaming companies to have agreements which reflect those goals, and we continue to urge hospitality employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as they are safe, proven, and effective. We also encourage national and local media to continue not promoting or giving space to dangerous anti-vaccination conspiracy theories or misinformation.
151 Culinary and Bartenders Union members and/or their immediate family members have died from COVID-19, with 1,545 hospitalized due to the virus since March 1, 2020.
ABOUT CULINARY UNION:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.
The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.
The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.
The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples.
Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for working families in Nevada for 86 years.