Las Vegas: high unionization rates mean smaller wage-gaps for women, especially older women

Las Vegas is one of America's most unionized cities, and importantly, the unionization rates are especially high in trades dominated by women, such as cocktail servers and hotel cleaners, making Vegas one of the most equal places in America in terms of wage-parity between women and men, and also between young workers and older workers.

There's still room for improvement, but unionized women make 88% of what unionized men earn, while unorganized women workers make 81%. The knock-on effects are profound: children born to single-mother-headed families are more likely to be upwardly mobile, an effect that is especially seen among daughters of single mothers.


Unions are strong in Las Vegas, and they bring benefits that cocktail servers and hotel workers in other states can only dream of: Beyond better wages and health care packages, union members are ensured set schedules and their first choice of coveted shifts, based on seniority. It’s why there are so many lifers in my industry: At the top of our cocktailing matriarchy was a woman who had joined the union in 1973.

So although the stereotype of a cocktail server is a young, provocatively dressed woman, if you visit a unionized casino on a Friday night, you will find that most women working the pit have fine lines and wrinkles, maybe even gray hair around their temples. Or, come on a weekday to witness the 9 a.m. arrival of unionized housekeepers, predominantly older Hispanic women, the earliest pioneers of the union and a matriarchy in their own right.

Why Las Vegas Is a Great Place for Working-Class Women
[Brittany Bronson/New York Times]


(via Naked Capitalism)