Nevada Casino Workers Concerned For Livelihood

Mar 22, 2020

After the closure of Nevada’s non-essential businesses for 30 days, many casino workers are left without a job. 

Darling Peralta used to work as a porter at the Sahara Hotel and Casino located on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

According to the Associated Press, more than 200,000 Nevada casino employees are affected by the closure. Peralta is one of them.

She said the closure is scary and all she can think of is her kids.    

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Si uno no trabaja no progresa”, ella dijo. “¿Cómo vamos a progresar si no hay trabajo, no hay ingresos? No le podemos dar nada a nuestros hijos. No le podemos ayudar en nada”. 

Translated:

“If you don’t work, you can’t progress,” Peralta said. “How can we progress if there are no jobs and no income? We can’t give anything to our kids. We can’t help them in anything.”

Someone who feels the same way is Sandra Diaz. She also worked at the Sahara as a housekeeper. 

Daiz said the closure has left her scared. She doesn’t know if she’ll have enough money to feed her kids and pay her bills. 

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Siempre tenemos que tener un guardadito”, ella dijo. “Y desgraciadamente soy una viuda. Mis hijos dependen completamente de mi. Yo vivo día a día y muchas veces mi sueldo no me alcanza. En situaciones así me preocupa mucho más porque yo voy cheque a cheque”.

Translated: 

“We have to have some sort of savings,” Diaz said. “Sadly, I am a widow. My kids depend solely on me. I live day-by-day and sometimes my wages aren't enough. In situations like these, I worry more because I live paycheck-to-paycheck.”

Being a housekeeper in a casino was not the job Diaz wanted, but it was the only thing she could find.

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Tenemos el trabajo más pesado en el mundo”, ella dijo. “Y en nosotros depende la función del hotel. No nos valoran lo suficiente porque somos los que trabajamos más y somos que ganamos menos”. 

Translated:

“We have the hardest job in the world,” she said, “and the function of the hotel depends on us. We are not valued enough because we are the ones who work the most, and we are the ones who earn the least.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman spoke out against Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s 30-day closure, saying the Vegas economy relies on tourism and gaming, and the city should remain open. 

Despite comments made by Goodman, Tamaris Navarro, a former housekeeper at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, said the closure was the best decision. 

Navarro said she thinks the closure should have happened sooner. She expressed she worked in fear despite having gloves, masks and cleaning supplies. 

The Culinary Union’s Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said in a press release the union supports Gov. Sisolak’s decision but “demands every Nevada employer pay all of their employees (including part-time workers) and extend healthcare benefits.”

Andrew Mendez is a bilingual student reporter with Noticiero Móvil at the Reynolds School of Journalism.