Under-reported news from Nevada's house of cards
From the 4-2-00 Daily Sparks
Here's a whole column of news you can't get anywhere else.
THE SMOKING GUN. Supporters of Sen. Joe Neal's attempt to raise Nevada's lowest-in-the-world gambling industry tax have watched with amusement the seemingly endless stream of letters to the Reno Gazette-Journal opposing the North Las Vegas Democrat's initiative petition.
It's become pretty obvious that they are a part of the industry's campaign. I now have the evidence in hand from the March 24 edition of "The Weekly Wrap-Up," a Circus-Circus Hotel-Casino employee newsletter published in both English and Spanish.
"Casino Tax: State Senator Joe Neal (Las Vegas) is circulating a petition that would raise the gross gaming tax on Nevada casinos. If passed, this action would be harmful to the industry and tourism in northern Nevada. The Nevada Resort Association, a non-profit organization representing the gaming industry in Nevada, has asked all interested parties to write a letter to the Reno Gazette-Journal stating the reasons why this action should not be taken. Read the information on the bulletin boards and if you are interested in sending a letter to the editor of the Gazette-Journal, stop by the Human Resources Department to get samples of letters you can send."
Got that? Go to the office which hires and fires to get form letters.
The full flyer
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The above is just the latest example of Circus-Circus abusing its workers. Awhile back, the company took revenge on its security staff for becoming the first in Nevada to vote in a union. Management stonewalled in contract negotiations for over a year, just enough time to water down the staff with new-hires who would push the union out.
RETURN OF THE JEDI. Meanwhile, all the unionized guards at the Reno Hilton were illegally terminated by former boss Ferenç Szony. The National Labor Relations Board and federal courts found the firings illegal and ordered the guards back to work after a struggle covering more than three years. Hilton owes more than $3 million in back pay and benefits.
Too little, too late. Many people had their lives destroyed. Marriages broke up. Homes were lost. Tom Stubblefield, sole support of his family, died at age 40. The courageous members of United Plant Guard Workers of America Local 1010 will never be made whole and the suffering continues.
One of them, Chuck Fisher of Reno, told me "it is my understanding that 27 former Hilton security officers are going back to their old jobs. Their first date is April 3 when they attend a two-day training session.
"All former officers received letters from the NLRB setting down how much each will receive in back pay. One officer in particular is being very much abused.
"Peter Jorgensen, who I believe is 67 years old, has been told that he gets NO back pay at all. When he was fired, he was 64 and felt he could not go to a new job. He would have had to start at a beginning wage and probably work graveyard shifts. He believed he could not handle it. Like me, Pete has a heart condition. So rather than start over at 64, he retired. He would not have retired when he did had he not been fired by Hilton.
"Now, they are saying that because he retired, he gets no back pay. Yet, he would not have retired had he not been illegally fired. Catch 22."
From Arizona, Jorgensen writes "This has got to be a case of age discrimination. Any assistance you can offer me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your interest in our cause." He plans to appeal the federal decision. I'll keep you posted.
THE BOMB THAT BOMBED. I was flabbergasted that only the Las Vegas Sun published a story about the Nevada Taxpayers Association release of research last week which reinforced Sen. Neal's case for a gaming tax increase.
It even used as a source a state study showing how low-wage gambling industry jobs create inordinate demands on government services. (See this column of 9-19-99.)
The NTA white paper shows just how stingy gambling has been when it comes to paying a fair share for growth: "Between 1989 and 1998, inflation adjusted gaming tax revenues have declined from $286 per person to $238 per person."
The study is available to the general public while supplies last. You may call (775) 882-2697 in Carson City or (702) 457-8442 in Las Vegas. It will eventually be posted at the NTA website.
NADER'S RAIDERS BREAK OUT ORGANIC CHAMPAGNE... At his recent Reno speech, Ralph Nader forecast a four-way presidential race this fall. He now has evidence. In a nationwide poll last month, Bush (41.7%) and Gore (40.2%) were in a statistical dead heat, with Nader a surprising third at 5.3%, ahead of Pat Buchanan at 3.3%.
Local Nader supporters will meet at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday at 1440 Majestic Drive (off Kings Row, second left from Keystone). For info, call Sandi Rizzo (775) 853-2935.
...WHILE GRIFFINAUTS GET OUT TAR AND FEATHERS. The folks who want to recall Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin and elect a new city council meet this Saturday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Mt. Rose School auditorium, 915 Lander St. For info, call (775) 685-2600 or go to the Reno recall website.
Be well. Raise hell.
© Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of U-News, where the past four years of columns may be accessed. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988 where an earlier version of this column appeared on 4/2/00.
Site maintained by Nine Muses Web Design
Comments and suggestions appreciated