The median price of a Super Bowl ticket this year is nearly $9,000, putting the game on track to be the most expensive on record. Billionaires are expected to have trouble finding parking spots for their planes.
But many workers at Allegiant Stadium, in Las Vegas, make barely more than minimum wage. A San Francisco Chronicle article tells the story of one such employee, Chayasura Walker, who makes $14.25 an hour, without benefits, as she pours $18 beers:
“I work three jobs and I still qualify for Medicaid,” Walker told the Chronicle in an interview this week after getting off work at the Las Vegas Raiders home stadium in Paradise, Nev., just southwest of the Las Vegas Strip. “That should tell you something.”
Walker’s plight is not unique. About 2,300 workers will be serving hot dogs, mixing cocktails and scrubbing toilets on Sunday, from stadium janitors to ushers to cashiers hired by companies contracted to manage the new stadium as well as a couple dozen independent restaurants.
Some make as little as $13 an hour for part-time, seasonal jobs that leave many needing other employment to support themselves.
In 2016, Nevada lawmakers voted to spend a record-breaking $750 million in taxpayer funding to help build the new arena and relocate the Raiders from Oakland. Advocates estimated the stadium would bring 14,000 permanent jobs and $39,000 annual salaries.
While Allegiant is now the world’s fourth highest-grossing stadium and the Raiders rank third in NFL ticket revenues (the 49ers are first), that money has not trickled down to stadium workers, and the stadium’s employment projections have fallen short. Whereas the Oakland Coliseum had an all-union workforce, 1,500 of Allegiant’s 2,200 employees are nonunion and working part-time and low-wage jobs, the Chronicle reports.
Many of those workers are now organizing to join the culinary union, which held a press conference last week. One worker, Vickey Powell, explained that she has been a cashier at the stadium for four years as a contractor for food and beverage company Levy, and making just $13 an hour. “I know how hard it is to work more than one job to just to make ends meet, to take care of your family,” Powell said.
Through tears, she explained that after her son died in 2021, she kept coming to work. “When I should have been at home grieving and setting up my son’s funeral, I dedicated myself to the Raiders stadium and Levy to come in and be that worker that they asked me to be. And all I’m asking is that y’all help us get the pay and the fairness we deserve due to everything we do.”
In a letter to Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan, D. Taylor, the president of Unite Here, which oversees the culinary union, noted that the employees at Allegiant who are unionized are able to qualify by adding the seasonal hours they work at Allegiant to hours they work at other union jobs. As a result, they have access to health insurance, pensions, job security, and more.