Published 19 Nov, 2013
Locals from across Nevada and Arizona joined forces at the NV/AZ State Conference on November 5, 2013. From the outset, the objective was clear: All hands on deck to support our brothers and sisters at Local 721, who work as dealers in Las Vegas casinos. In late October, the Nevada State Supreme Court ruled that Wynn Las Vegas can continue “sharing” the tips that customers leave for dealers with their pit bosses.
One of the biggest issues for this Conference is the problem the dealers are having,” said President of Local 501 Donny Tyndell. To have to hand over tip money to managers is a hardship for dealers — one that Local 721 thought it had seen the end of after District Court Judge Kenneth Cory declared tip-pooling illegal back in 2011. “Any local’s problem is everybody’s problem at a State Conference,” said TWU COPE Political Field Staff Member Terry Daniels.
“Steve Wynn decided some years back that dealers can’t keep all of their tips,” said NV/AZ State Conference Chair Bryan Orozco. “They fought it all the way to the Supreme Court, and the Court ruled in favor of management. Now, we’re going to have to try again at the state level. But the Nevada state legislature only meets every other year, so it’s going to be a while before we can move on that.”
Going forward, the Nevada/Arizona State Conference will be adding locals from a third state to its ranks: Colorado. “We’re going to be the NV/AZ/CO State Conference,” said TWU International State Conference Director Gwen York. “This move is in keeping with Resolution 2 that was passed at the Convention, to regionalize these conferences where appropriate. Colorado is going to be such an important swing state in 2014 and 2016 in the electoral process. It’s important for the TWU to be active and organized in these states.”
Plans also emerged to join Local 721 members, led by Executive Board member Kathie Kurkjian, in a volunteer project with Opportunity Village, a nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities in Southern Nevada. Each holiday season, the Local sponsors a Christmas tree at the organization’s main center, decorating it with dice and a “Las Vegas Dealers” plaque. “They turn that place into a Christmas wonderland for disabled kids,” said Gwen. “This is an example of a Conference project that’s just a lot of fun and shows the value of having the TWU as part of the community.”
State Conferences are not only forums for TWU local leadership to create strong relationships with labor-friendly political candidates — they also allow the TWU to train and develop future political leaders from within the membership, like former TWU member Garrett Leduff. It’s early in Garrett’s campaign for State Senate in Nevada, making the NV/AZ State Conference the ideal ground for policy-shaping discussions with his TWU family.