Another Example of How Weird It's Gotten
The politically potent presidential endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama by 60,000-member Local 226 of the Culinary Workers in Nevada, announced just after his defeat in the New Hampshire primary, was vigorously opposed by union members supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Obama had lagged behind Clinton and John Edwards in winning labor support, but the Culinary Workers may be the biggest union plum. This endorsement could swing the Nevada Democratic caucuses Jan. 19 to Obama, though the state's party establishment supports Clinton. Backing for her by Rep. Shelley Berkley, who previously said she would stay neutral, was unveiled immediately after the Culinary Workers acted.
So what the hell is the Culinary Workers Union?
According to the website of local 226 http://www.culinaryunion226.org/about.asp
Culinary members work at casinos up and down the Las Vegas Strip as well as in downtown Las Vegas. Culinary members also work in food service outlets at McCarran International Airport and Valley Hospital, industrial laundries throughout the Las Vegas valley, and casinos in Reno. Members of the Culinary Union work in a wide range of job classifications including cocktails, bell department, kitchen workers, cooks, housekeepers, porters, and many more.
Hey I guess I've been a Culinary Worker. In another life I was a waiter, barter and maitre'd in a French restaurant.
Now the number of people in this country who have waited tables at one time or another must be quite large. It's a popular student job for example. The lack of such a pool of waiters is one of the things you noticed in the old communist bloc after the changes.
Getting stuck in it as a lifelong profession has got to suck though. But even here there's a ladder of sorts. There are waiters in fancy restaurants in the big cities pulling in big bucks, and I remember hearing that waiters in the tourist season in Newport, Rhode Island (where I did some growing up) sometimes live in the Carribean islands in the off-season.
But what I want to know is, exactly what the heck is political about being a food service worker? Why should an organization representing culinary workers even have to have an official position on who's going to be president? Shouldn't they be concerned with negotiating benefits and salary from the big players in Vegas?
The further socialization of the economy, that's what.
Culinary 226 members continue to fight for free health care, a secure retirement, owning a home and sending their kids to college. The Union remains strong with a growing membership and thousands of active union members.
I see now - they want these things, and the casinos and restaurants don't want to pay for them. So.... make the rest of us pay for them!
Oh, and then call it "free."