Culinary Union’s Geoconda Argüello-Kline retires after an historic 32-year legacy of fighting and winning for working families in Nevada



Friday, February 11, 2022 


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088 

Culinary Union’s Geoconda Argüello-Kline retires after an historic 32-year legacy of fighting and winning for working families in Nevada 

Ted Pappageorge is the Secretary-Treasurer and Diana Valles is the President of the Culinary Union

Las Vegas, NV – Geoconda Argüello-Kline has retired after 32 years of organizing and leading the Culinary Union for the past 10 years as Secretary-Treasurer. Under the leadership of Geoconda Argüello-Kline, there is no other organization in Nevada that has done more to support working families during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis than the Culinary Union.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline sent a letter to the Culinary Union membership announcing her retirement, view the letter here. 

“These past 10 years, I have had the honor of being the Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union after D. Taylor, a great leader and my dear brother (who I’ve worked with for 32 years!) became president of UNITE HERE. It’s been my honor to have had the opportunity to represent and advocate for the tremendous rank-and-file workers in my 32-years of organizing,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, former Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “I’m proud to see what Culinary Union members have been able to achieve in 87-years and I’m thankful to every Culinary Union member who has worked so hard to preserve and grow member benefits against incredible odds. It’s been a blessing to organize alongside the amazing team at the Culinary Union - we’ve been through so much and worked so hard, but we stayed united and I’m moved to see what we have accomplished together." 

“There is truly nothing we didn’t try or do in the fight to protect workers, organize, expand benefits, demand our fair share as companies made record profits, elect political leaders who will represent workers, hold elected leaders accountable for their actions or inactions, and champion issues that are important to working families,” continued Argüello-Kline. “Everyday the Culinary Union kept the focus on protecting workers and we have achieved that in our 87 years. The strikes, picket lines, work-and-walks, protests, rallies, civil disobediences, delegations, petition deliveries, strike votes, contract ratifications, citywide committee meetings, and EDR actions will forever be in my mind of the incredible power Culinary Union members have built.”

“I congratulate my union brother Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge, who I have worked side-by-side with for over 30 years, and my union sister President Diana Valles on their new roles - they will ensure the Culinary Union and members continue to come back stronger than ever,” continued Argüello-Kline. “The leadership at the Culinary Union remains strong, experienced, and courageous. The time ahead looks promising and I look forward to seeing Culinary Union members and our families continue to thrive.”

“The Culinary Union and 60,000 members owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Geoconda Argüello-Kline for her incredible leadership and years of service,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Our union and working families are stronger than ever because of Geoconda’s 32-years of dedication and sacrifice. Diana and I are honored to take on these new roles and we will continue the fight to win justice for workers in Nevada.”

Geoconda was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua and came to the United States of America as a political refugee in 1979 and then moved to the Las Vegas Valley in 1983. While Geoconda worked as a guest room attendant at the Fitzgerald’s Hotel (now The D Hotel & Casino), a difficult contract fight resulted in 6 months of daily picketing outside the property in 1989. Her desire to obtain better working conditions and protect her family with good health care benefits led her to become involved with the Culinary Union as a negotiating committee leader and a picket line captain. In 1990, Geoconda joined the staff at the Culinary Union. Throughout her career at the Culinary Union she has held many positions: She was a Lead Organizer in the Frontier Strike, a Director in the Rio Campaign, Organizing Coordinator of the Housekeeping Study Campaign, and Staff Trainer of Organizers and Lead Organizers.

Geoconda held the following leadership positions: Vice President of the UNITE- HERE International Union, Trustee of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, Trustee of the Culinary Pension Fund, Trustee of the Health and Welfare Fund, Trustee of the St. Louis Square, Trustee of the UNITE HERE Health, Chairwomen of the Board of the IWCP (Citizenship Project)*, and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board member*.

*Geoconda Argüello-Kline will continue to hold these leadership positions.


Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.  

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.  

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.  

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples. 

Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for working families in Nevada for 87 years. / @Culinary226 


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