Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream
Silver Anniversary 1988-2013 >Now
we go for gold
by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily
Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated
in them parts ever since.
to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire
in August of 1987
knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your
That will disclose
puts a contract out on Reno
by Barbano / Expanded from the 1-14-1997 Daily Sparks Tribune
in The Reno News & Review January 14, 1997.
The thug who committed
rape, armed robbery and attempted murder at the Reno Hilton last August pled
guilty on all counts January 7. In macabre irony, Hilton got rid of all its
experienced security officers on January 13.
Only the skeleton of a
once-proud force remained to terminate. Under previous ownership, northern
Nevada's largest hotel-casino employed more than 140 guards as recently as
1989. In recent years, they were down to around 60. Hilton broke its media
blackout only to assure the public that guest safety was still foremost on
the corporate mind.
The facts, however, speak
for themselves. Profit stands foremost. The hotel made about $20,000,000
last year, but that's apparently not enough to retain experienced security
staffers, some of whom started when MGM opened the property in 1978.
Won't the free market force
Hilton to maintain good security? No. The free market can be easily manipulated
by megacorporations with tax-deductible budgets for propaganda campaigns
and political contributions.
Hilton's minions juiced
the Tailhook Bill through the 1995 legislative session, making
it next to impossible to successfully sue a hotel-casino for breaches
in security. Nevada gaming properties now have little legal liability
for the safety of their guests and workers. They can, however, continue
to advertise how much they care through pious public pronouncements
from PR people who know negative publicity goes away in a day. Who remembers
the more than 1,000 people who suffered food poisoning last May because
Hilton's personnel policies pushed employees to work while sick?
The downsizing of any job
ripples through a community, multiplying itself at least tenfold, according
to a recent model developed by a Las Vegas college professor. By its own
estimate, Hilton stands to save $562,000 by hiring contract security guards
from a doorshaker service at $7.50 an hour. Hilton has even established a
policy of putting other workers on part time and advising them to apply for
partial unemployment benefits from the taxpayers.
Simultaneous with throwing
its workers onto public assistance, Hilton wants a $262,427.60 property tax
break from Washoe County. Its grounds: not enough profit.
One silver lining surrounds
this corporate black cloud. About two-thirds of the fired employees are
represented by a union. When United Plant Guard Workers of America Local
1010 wins its court actions, the downsized guards will enjoy the last laugh
all the way to the bank.
But the most important results
will come from citizens angry at corporate arrogance. The state of Washington
already has a law mandating early warning of corporate downsizings. The security
guards union wants to take it several steps further.
Because much of the problem
lies in preferential government treatment for big business, the union plans
to introduce legislation ordering socio-economic impact reports and public
hearings whenever a major downsizing is in the works. The proposal calls
for a full exploration of alternatives with penalties for profit gouging.
The statewide Progressive Leadership Alliance presented the concept last
week at a western regional conference in Oregon, and will support the idea
when the Nevada legislature opens next week.
This program should even
gain support from local chambers of commerce which actively recruit new
businesses but can make only anemic efforts to keep them once they're here.
In his recent bestseller
"Downsize This!", Emmy-winning producer Michael Moore endorsed measures with
enforcement teeth: "To those of you free-marketers who disagree with these
modest suggestions (and say) 'You can't tell a business how it can operate!'
- I say: Oh, yes, we can! We legally require companies to build safe products,
to ensure safe workplaces, to pay employees a minimum wage, to contribute
to their Social Security, and to follow a host of other rules that we, as
a society, have deemed necessary for our well-being...Just keep firing more
workers, my friends, and see what happens," Moore wrote.
Help make it happen here.
Tell your representatives you support a Workers Bill of Rights for powerless
Nevada employees. When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.
Be well. Raise hell.