July 29, 2014
By Stephanie West
Sonoma County, California – Workers at the Graton Resort & Casino in Sonoma County, California have joined UNITE HERE. The union is continuing to initiate a successful organizing drive to raise standards for workers in the region’s lucrative tourism industry.
The vote by 600 janitors, waiters, cooks, and gaming workers was run under an agreement between UNITE HERE and the Graton Federated Tribes, which allowed workers to choose freely whether to become union members without interference from their employer. In results certified by an arbitrator on July 18, eligible employees voted 70% in favor of joining UNITE HERE Local 2850.
“Tourists spend a lot of money at casinos and restaurants here in Sonoma, but often the workers are living in poverty. We’re joining the union because we want to turn that around,” said Graton porter Kathy Winifield.