Sociology, and Blackjack

Last month the American Sociological Association announced that it wasn’t going to be able to hold its annual meeting this year in Chicago as planned. Some 5,000 academics were scheduled to stay at two Chicago-area Hilton hotels. But after protracted Hilton labor disputes over contracts and a one-day strike at one of the hotels, the sociologists pulled out.

“Our members have been concerned that we meet in hotels where workers are treated properly in terms of wages and other working conditions,” said a spokesman for the association. But then the association had nowhere to meet. Sociologists across America waited with bated breath for the organization to figure out how to hold the conference as planned.

Well problem solved. The American Sociological Association announced Tuesday that it had found a better location for its annual conference, one more in keeping with its philosophical stance on labor relations and general support for working families.

In addition, the new venue offers “the unique opportunity to have all components of its Annual Meeting — including sessions, receptions, and housing” in the same place. This perfect new setting for this annual conference devoted to cutting-edge research in the social lives of people, groups, and societies is… Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

This may mark the first time that anyone has chosen Caesars Palace—a Roman-Empire themed hotel featuring 3,348 rooms, 26 restaurants, a 129,000 square foot casino, and its own Burberry, Versace, Gucci, and Harry Winston outlets—specifically for its progressive labor practices. But the ASA assures its members that “Caesars Palace is a unionized facility with union contracts that do not expire until 2012.” How reassuring.

Caesars Palace is the property of Caesars Entertainment, Inc., a company that was also part of the Hilton Hotels chain until 2000.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer