Letter to the Brothers of Gamma Zeta Alpha

Dear Gamma Zeta Alpha,

My parents were born in Durango; both in small towns and both to families of eight. Growing up, there were always too many mouths to feed and not quite enough food. They made the decision to come to the United States when my sister was a year old. She would have the opportunity of a better life, one more stable and full than theirs. It wasn’t easy. They lived in a relative’s garage cramped and tense from sharing such close quarters with so many people. My dad worked day and night. For his efforts, he received just enough to afford rent and food. Then we came to Las Vegas.

Both of my parents, Alma and Jorge got jobs at hotels here—her cleaning rooms and him in the laundry. Alma worked her body scrubbing tubs, making beds, and cleaning up guests’ messes. Then she came home to cook and clean after her daughter. Jorge got up early to make breakfast and take my sister to school—then he spent the day in infernal heat cleaning linens soiled by hotel guests. It was not easy. But they were union jobs, so they made enough to pay for their own apartment. They had insurance so when my sister got a bad fever they did not just pray for an improvised cure to work, they took her to the doctor. When a supervisor tried to make Jorge stay after his shift to do extra work for no pay, he responded they could not keep him after without overtime. When Alma was harassed by a guest she filed a report without fear of losing her job.

This is what the union has given my parents. This is what it has given me. I grew up in a secure home—which my parents were paying to own. I never had to worry about helping out financially. I focused on school and got into a college I could only dream of.

My parents work with their bodies. After decades in this work they are tired and they ache with the constant strain on their bodies. But when they retire they have a 50,000 dollar pension waiting for them. They own a home so they will not have to worry about finding a place to live. And they will exit the workforce with dignity. This is what our union does. This is what we are fighting for.  

Gamma Zeta Alpha is holding an event at a non-union casino, where workers have been dreaming of the conditions I just described. It is one thing for a big corporation to undermine workers, but it is another for a group of young Latinos. It would be shocking and painful for this majority immigrant workforce to see you siding with the company. Don’t give the company one more way to discourage the workers.

Please do the right thing and move the 30-year gala out of the Palms Casino.

Sincerely,

Cassandra Muñoz

Customer Outreach Intern

Culinary Workers Union Local 226

(702) 383-7922

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