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Culinary Union Steers Clear Of Endorsements In Nevada Presidential Caucus

AP Photo/John Locher

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a rally Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Las Vegas, held by the Culinary Union to support a union drive at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. Yet, the union has not endorsed her or anyone ahead of the caucus. Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline is to the right of Clinton in the picture.

The Culinary Union has long been a force in Southern Nevada not just in labor relations but in politics as well.

However, so far, the union has yet to endorse anyone in the presidential race. The Culinary Union’s decision not to throw its weight into one Democratic camp or the other has created an “unsettled political atmosphere,” according to the New York Times

The Times article goes on to point out that the decision not to endorse anyone ahead of Saturday's caucus is tied to the 2008 endorsement of President Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, which lead to a heated battle. 

However, secretary-treasurer for the union Geoconda Arguello-Kline told KNPR's State of Nevada there is a lot more to endorsing a candidate than just announcing the endorsement.

Arguello-Kline pointed out that it also means knocking on doors, manning phone banks and mobilizing voters.

She said the union wants to focus on the upcoming negotiations with several large properties including Station Casinos and the Palms hotel-casino. 

"We are a union," she said, "We have to negotiate for 48,000 members."

Arguello-Kline said the union is not bowing out of politics in Nevada. It is encouraging its members to listen to the candidates, make their own decision and caucus on Saturday. 

There are six caucus locations on the Strip to accommodate workers. 

The union has endorsed Ruben Kihuen in the race for Congressional District 4.

As for endorsing anyone in the race for the Republican nomination, Arguello-Kline didn't say if the union had anyone in mind, but she did say the union wouldn't endorse someone who "was attacking unions."

Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer, Culinary Union. 

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)