Memorial for labor leader Kiko Reyes set for Monday

A memorial mass will be celebrated Monday at St. Therese the Little Flower Church in honor of labor leader Federico "Kiko" Reyes who died on Dec. 6 at Washoe Medical Center.

Reyes, 46, died during surgery from injuries suffered in an accidental fall from the roof of his Reno home. He was born on March 3, 1959, in San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, Mexico. He is survived by his wife, Carmen, their four sons Federico Jr., Jose, Victor and Aldo, and two grandchildren.

Visitation is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday at Ross, Burke & Knobel Mortuary at 2155 Kietzke Lane. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at St. Therese the Little Flower, 875 E. Plumb Lane. Burial will follow immediately afterward at Mountain View Cemetery.

Reyes was a 25-year member and longtime organizer for Culinary Workers Union Local 226.

"No single person is more responsible for workers having the union in Reno than Kiko Reyes," said D. Taylor, Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer. Taylor credited Reyes' hard work and skills for Reno Hilton workers winning full family health care for $30.00 per month in their last contract. Taylor praised Reyes' interpersonal abilities, noting that Reyes was well known in the local Latino community and "knew more people on a first name basis in Reno than anyone."

"Brother Reyes did not have life insurance," stated Nevada State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson. "I am urging every union in the state to make a contribution to assist his family," he added.

Reyes moved to Reno from Mexico. He was employed for many years as a cook by the downtown Circus Circus Hotel/Casino. He became a shop steward with HERE Local 86 (now Culinary Union 226) and a leader in the union's successful campaign to organize the hotel. Reyes moved up as a key member of the union's negotiating team and served on the local's executive board. In 1994, he left Circus-Circus and joined the union's staff as an organizer. In that capacity, he was instrumental in organizing the Reno Hilton and Flamingo Hilton-Reno.

Reyes was a well known leader in Reno's Latino community and started the city's first Mexican soccer league.

"Reyes dedicated his life to his belief that all workers deserved to be treated with dignity and respect," the union said in an official statement. "He will be greatly missed by his family, the community, and his union brothers and sisters."

Reyes' death represents the third major blow to northern Nevada trade unionism this year. In February, Alliance for Workers Rights Director Tom Stoneburner, 60, a colleague of Reyes at Circus Circus, was felled by a heart attack. In 1994, Stoneburner, led his fellow guards in winning the first hotel-casino security staff election in state history.

In May, Miguel Contreras, 52, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor since 1996, was also lost to a heart attack. Contreras served as business manager of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 86 in Reno before relocating to southern California. He helped welcome United Farmworkers leader Cesar Chavez to Reno in 1986. Cesar Chavez Day has become annual event in Northern Nevada.


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