The Las Vegas Union That Learned To Beat The House

Monie Stewart-Cariaga recently decided to leave the townhouse she’s renting to buy a new home. For a single cocktail server, she couldn’t be in a better position to do it. Beyond the fair wage and tips she earns at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Stewart-Cariaga plans to take advantage of a home-buying assistance program run by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the powerful union that represents service workers like her on the Vegas strip.

Members are eligible to receive a $20,000 loan to help with a down payment, which is only repaid if the member sells or rents out the home. It is one of many ways the Culinary, as it’s known, has been helping servers, bellhops and line cooks get their piece of the American Dream. More than half of the union’s members are Latino, and more than half are women.

“For what I do, I feel like I couldn’t be in a better place,” said Stewart-Cariaga, who is 50.

Read the full article.