By Hamilton Nolan
Source: In These Times
It was the week before Halloween on the Vegas Strip, and the party had already begun. In front of the Paris Las Vegas Casino, cones were carefully laid down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, shutting down three of its six lanes. A flatbed truck served as an improvised stage. Speakers blasted the song “We Are Family.” And from all directions, people in red shirts trickled in. Two women in matching fishnet stockings and leather bikinis stopped accosting tourists for photos and tips for a moment and wandered over to take in the scene. “What’s going on here?” one said nervously, fingering her riding crop. “Are the cops gonna come break this up?”
Her concern was misplaced. This was the most wholesome thing happening on the Strip. It was not debauchery, but a celebration. All those people in red “Come Back Stronger” T‑shirts were room cleaners, bartenders, bellhops and other workers in the casinos that dominate the skyline. They had seen this Strip deserted not long ago. Now, they had come to rally in a town once again full of gaudy life. The past year and a half had been very, very hard. But the mighty Culinary Union survived.