Biden may join Las Vegas hotel workers on the picket line, union boss tells Reuters

©Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden waves before boarding Air Force One as it departs Los Angeles, California, February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Jarrett Renshaw and Trevor Hunnicutt

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – President Joe Biden could join workers at a Las Vegas hotel on a picket line if they strike on Monday, a move that would tie him closely to another group of workers in a 2024 election battleground state , the union head told Reuters. .

Workers at the influential Nevada Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino have until early Monday to reach an agreement.

Otherwise, workers could go on strike.

Biden has pledged to join the striking workers if they leave, Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer and head of the union, told Reuters in an interview. Biden will be in Las Vegas on Monday, concluding two days of political events.

Asked whether Biden would join workers on Monday if they strike, Pappageorge said “there will be opportunities” for Biden to rally with workers, and that Biden has been invited to join the picket line.

Company and union negotiators returned to the table Sunday evening ahead of a Monday morning deadline for a deal.

The Culinary Union has already reached more than 30 agreements covering 50,000 workers with other Las Vegas hotels and casinos.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment. The campaign and White House had yet to provide any timetable for Biden as of Monday.

If Biden joins the picket line, it would be the second such step in recent months after joining the auto workers’ strike in Michigan last September. It was the first visit by a US president to striking workers in recent memory and preceded approval by the United Auto Workers last month.

Just last week, Trump met with leadership and some members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of America’s largest unions, which has 1.3 million members, in an effort to win support from labor groups.

The arid western state of Nevada, where Biden is expected to easily win the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday, is one of seven identified by the Biden campaign as a hotly contested battleground in November’s general election. Voter support in such states could swing in favor of both parties.

In 2020, Biden narrowly beat his Republican rival Donald Trump in Nevada with 33,596 votes, or less than 3%, and opinion polls show a rematch between the two men this year, which seems likely, would be close.

According to the U.S. Census, about 30% of Nevada’s population identifies as Latino or Hispanic, and Republicans are making inroads among these voters nationwide.

Biden calls himself the most pro-union president in history and has taken many pro-worker actions. The AFL-CIO, an umbrella group of labor groups including the Culinary Union, endorsed Biden last year.

The Downtown Grand, owned by investment firm CIM Group and operated by Fifth Street Gaming, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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