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Right-to-work Nevada a rare bright spot for labor

  • Article by: NICHOLAS RICCARDI
  • Associated Press
  • December 17, 2012 - 2:05 AM

The future of the American labor movement may lie just off the Las Vegas Strip, inside a building near the Stratosphere casino.

That's the home of Culinary Workers Local 226, a fast-growing union of hotel and casino employees that has thrived despite being in a right-to-work state and a region devastated by the real estate crash.

More than 90 percent of Culinary's 60,000 predominantly immigrant workers opt to be dues-paying members, even though Nevada law says they cannot be forced to pay unions for their services. Housekeepers in most Strip hotels start at $16 an hour with free health care and a pension.

Culinary's track record gives a dispirited labor movement some hope even as it hemorrhages workers and reels from the approval of a right-to-work law in union-strong Michigan.

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