Vegas Culinary Union Announces New Leaders

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has named Ted Pappageorge (l.) as secretary treasurer and Diana Valles as president. Leain Vashon continues in the role of vice president.

Vegas Culinary Union Announces New Leaders

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has announced its new leadership team following the retirement of former secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline.

Ted Pappageorge was appointed to succeed Argüello-Kline as secretary treasurer. According to the union, he is a Las Vegas native and joined the Culinary Union in 1982. His work experience includes stints as a busboy at the Sands, a barback at the Sundance and a bartender at the Mint, Horseshoe Club and Riviera. He served as union president from 2012 to 2022.

Diana Valles has been named the new union president. She worked as a guest room attendant at both the Stardust and the Las Vegas Hilton and later was a casino porter and cook at the Flamingo.

Leain Vashon will continue as vice president of the union.

“I’m honored to be appointed to lead the Culinary Union as our union and working families continue to come back stronger,” said Pappageorge, who is also vice president and executive committee member of the UNITE HERE International Union and an executive committee member of the Nevada State AFL-CIO. “As a former bartender, I am proud to be a union member for 40 years. I’ve seen what workers can accomplish together and how Nevada has changed because our union has been militant about not allowing working families to be left behind. Working families in Nevada are resilient because of the strength and sacrifices made by generations of Culinary Union members who have come before us.

“During the last 24 months, there is no other organization in Nevada that has done more to support working families during the pandemic than the Culinary Union,” he continued. “Looking forward, we will continue fighting for fair shift scheduling, stations and workloads. We need to fight back against unfair IRS tip taxes, protect daily room cleaning and prepare for citywide contract negotiations when contracts expire in 2023. Diana and I are honored to be appointed and we will continue the fight to win justice for workers in Nevada.”

Valles added, “As a former guest room attendant, casino porter and cook, I know how hard Culinary Union members work every day and I will strive to continue ensuring workers are protected with fair wages, job security, and the best health benefits. Covid-19 was a struggle, but together we got through the hardest challenges our union and workers have faced in our lifetime and we know that if we remain united, we will come back stronger.”