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‘I don’t have a job now’: Laid off workers are still struggling

Over half the members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents many of those who work in casinos and resorts in Las Vegas and Reno, still haven’t gone back to work, according to Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the union.

“Being in that situation is very difficult”,” Argüello-Kline said. “It’s affecting their health because people are experiencing very high levels of stress right now.”


Each month Taufa makes a series of difficult calculations: What bills can she pay and which ones come first? Her husband’s medications take first priority, then her mortgage, and then she tries to make sure utilities are paid for. Taufa has relied on the Culinary Union’s pantry for food and when she can’t pay her mortgage, her brothers and sisters have pitched in.

Taufa has managed, somehow, but with her benefits coming to an end, she’s not sure what she’ll do next. “I think about it every day, every night, turning my head every second,” Taufa said. “But what can I do? I’m trying my best.”

She hopes Congress can reach an agreement that will extend her benefits.

She’s also holding out hope that once the vaccine is distributed, she’ll be called back to her job at Fiesta Henderson, which has remained closed. Taufa is nearing retirement, and she worries about the prospect of getting a job anywhere else.

For all the difficulties of the past year — from the loss of her father, job, and now uncertainty over her unemployment benefits, Taufa keeps her eye on the future, on better days when she can go back to work.

“There’s a day of raining and there’s a day of sunshine and we have to be there for both.”

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