Unions are a major force in the Democratic Party in Nevada, and have even backed Republicans in the past. For instance, the Union supported Republican Governor Kenny Guinn over his Democratic opponent, Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, in 1998. Trade unions are democratic organizations and their leaders are elected by the members. The union represents 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada, many of whom come from 178 different countries, speak more than 40 different languages and are mostly Latino, Asian or black. According to union statistics, Arguello-Kline said unions are a dominant force in Las Vegas due to their fight for workers' rights, including a higher standard of living and better opportunities to care for their families. The influence of labor is not limited to one factor, as candidates for the Las Vegas union circuit are not new.
For Vergara-Mactal, that means having strong unions and healthcare, something that many Nevada Democrats will have in mind when they meet at their caucuses on Saturday. In a race in which the contrast between left and right appears to be more pronounced than ever, it is not unexpected that Democratic candidates are turning to unions to strengthen their working-class electoral block. With this level of commitment, combined with Nevada's position as one of the first states in the nomination process, it is understandable why Las Vegas is attractive to both workers and political leaders seeking support. If we add to that greater political commitment to a group that typically favors Democrats, it's not hard to understand why union support would be beneficial for any Democrat who wants to succeed in Nevada and across the country. The union's successful political action and its dedication to immigration issues have contributed to its success, according to Rubén Garcia, a law professor at the University of Nevada.
The Culinary Union strives to demonstrate its value to its members by obtaining contracts with benefits that surpass other union jobs in Las Vegas and provisions that help members with immigration problems. The union's health plan is generally considered the best in Nevada, which explains why Sandoval and his colleagues want to protect it. Candidates have done their best to participate in Las Vegas union events, even without being able to physically attend. As the largest metropolitan area in a state with a large union membership, Las Vegas is a mecca for organized labor, and the number of union votes in Nevada is not insignificant.