An extractive model of concentrated power has defined Nevada since its early colonial settlement as the “Silver State,” one that has constantly extracted resources of all kinds to benefit wealthy elites mostly beyond the state. These have kept strongly organized voices across the hospitality, retail, gambling and, of course, mining industries. These cartels of corporate power have helped treat Las Vegas as a place where global corporations can amass tourist dollars at a significant price to workers and the land or – more broadly in the state – extract tremendous wealth from the earth with little regulation, taxation, or consequence.
The heated, decade-plus campaign led by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 – with support from community allies – to organize the Stations Casino starting publicly in 2010 exemplifies the kind of power located in corporate casinos who have until recent history enjoyed anti-worker laws and policy in their favor. Station Casinos employees discussed workplace exploitation and stress like the demand to be 24-hours on call, video surveillance of employees to assess performance, use of employees for family functions, and more.