Casino Women is a pioneering look at the female face of
corporate gaming. Based on extended interviews with maids, cocktail
waitresses, cooks, laundry workers, dealers, pit bosses, managers,
and vice presidents, the book describes in compelling detail a
world whose enormous profitability is dependent on the labor of
women assigned stereotypically female occupations-making beds and
serving food on the one hand and providing sexual allure on the
other. But behind the neon lies another world, peopled by thousands
of remarkable women who assert their humanity in the face of gaming
empires' relentless quest for profits.
The casino women profiled here generally fall into two groups.
Geoconda Arguello Kline, typical of the first, arrived in the
United States in the 1980s fleeing the war in Nicaragua. Finding
work as a Las Vegas hotel maid, she overcame her initial fear of
organizing and joined with others to build the preeminent
grassroots union in the nation-the 60,000-member Culinary
Union-becoming in time its president. In Las Vegas, "the hottest
union city in America," the collective actions of union activists
have won economic and political power for tens of thousands of
working Nevadans and their families. The story of these women's
transformation and their success in creating a union able to face
off against global gaming giants form the centerpiece of this
Another group of women, dealers and middle managers among them,
did not act. Fearful of losing their jobs, they remained silent,
declining to speak out when others were abused, and in the case of
middle managers, taking on the corporations' goals as their own.
Susan Chandler and Jill B. Jones appraise the cost of their silence
and examine the factors that pushed some women into activism and
led others to accept the status quo.
Subjects: Political Science
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