Las Vegas casino workers vote 99% to authorize a citywide strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bethany Khan ▪ BKhan@culinaryunion226.org ▪ (702) 387-7088

 Las Vegas casino workers vote to authorize a citywide strike 

Las Vegas, NV – Members of UNITE HERE’s Culinary and Bartenders Unions have voted to authorize a citywide strike. 25,000 union members participated in two voting sessions throughout the day and 99% voted yes.

Union contracts covering 50,000 union workers expire on June 1, 2018 at 34 casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, including properties operated by MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Penn National, Golden Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and other companies. 

50,000 hospitality employees who are preparing to go out on strike after June 1 include: Bartenders, guest room attendants, cocktail servers, food servers, porters, bellman, cooks, and kitchen workers employed at the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.

“A strike is a last resort. We want to come to an agreement, but the union and workers are preparing for a citywide strike if contracts are not settled by June 1,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs. Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch. That's why employers should work with us to stay strong, fair, and competitive.”

“I voted yes to go on strike to ensure my job isn’t outsourced to a robot,” said Chad Neanover, a prep cook at the Margaritaville, a Caesars Entertainment property. “We know technology is coming, but workers shouldn’t be pushed out or left behind. Casino companies should ensure that technology is harnessed to improve the quality and safety in the workplace, not as a way to completely eliminate our jobs.”

“I don’t want to go on strike, but I will,” said Adela Montes de Oca, a guest room attendant at the Aria, an MGM Resorts International property. “The company is more profitable than ever because of the hard work we do, and I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that we have a fair share of that success.” 

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions are negotiating new contract language to provide greater measure of security for members including workplace safety, sexual harassment, subcontracting, technology, and immigration. In addition, the Union’s economic proposal seeks to provide workers a fair share of the employers’ enormous anticipated cash flows and Trump tax windfalls.   

In 1984, thousands of Culinary Union members went on a citywide strike across the Las Vegas Strip for 67 days which crippled in the Las Vegas hospitality industry until contracts were settled.

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions are encouraging Nevada locals, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing hotels and casinos in case there is a labor dispute on or after June 1, 2018. In an event of a strike, please do not cross picket lines. 

The Culinary Union, Nevada’s largest union, maintains www.VegasTravelAlert.org, a website intended as a service for meeting and convention planners and all other travelers who need to know whether labor disputes could affect their plans in Las Vegas.

Labor contracts for the below 34 casino resorts expire midnight May 31, 2018:

 

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ABOUT THE CULINARY UNION:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent over 57,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 143,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with over 57,000 members - a diverse membership that is approximately 55% women and 54% Latino. Members - who work as guest room attendants, bartenders, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, and kitchen workers - come from 173 countries and speak over 40 different languages. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for working men and women in Nevada for 83 years.

CulinaryUnion226.org / @Culinary226 

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