FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, September 18, 2023
Bethany Khan: email@example.com ▪ (702) 387-7088
STATEMENT by Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge regarding expired contract extensions for MGM, Caesars, and Wynn/Encore:
As of Friday, September 15, 2023, contracts covering 46,000 workers (out of a total of 60,000 membership) who are represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 are now expired.
Last week, the Culinary and Bartender Unions sent a formal letter to each of the MGM Resorts International properties, Caesars Entertainment Corporation properties, and Wynn/Encore to initiate a 7-day notice to end the contract extensions that were in place. Terminating the contract extension agreements means that 46,000 Culinary and Bartenders Union members will be working under an expired contract and that there is an increased risk of a potential major labor dispute in Las Vegas. Union contracts are only expired with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts.
Terms and conditions of an expired collective bargaining agreement largely remain in effect, including wages, benefits, and job security protections, but the no-strike provisions are no longer in effect which will set the stage for workers to go on strike after a successful strike authorization, and if the Culinary and Bartender Unions and employers do not come to an agreement before a strike deadline. The Culinary Union has not yet set a strike deadline.
Culinary Union represents 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada. 53,000 are based in Las Vegas and are in active negotiations with casino/hotel employers for a new 5-year contract this year and are participating in the Tuesday, September 26, 2023 Strike Vote. 46,000 workers employed at the three largest gaming employers in the state (MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts) are now working under an expired contract.
53,000 hospitality workers are participating in the Strike Vote at Thomas & Mack on September 26, 2023:
LAS VEGAS STRIP -
*EXPIRED CONTRACTS / MGM Resorts International: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM.
*EXPIRED CONTRACTS / Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and the Linq.
*EXPIRED CONTRACTS / Wynn/Encore Resorts
*Hilton Grand Vacations
*Sahara Las Vegas
*Trump Hotel Las Vegas
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS -
*The D Casino
In the 2023 negotiations, the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have proposed new 5-year contract language to provide greater measure of security for workers including:
*Winning the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Culinary Union.
*Reducing workload and steep housekeeping room quotas, mandating daily room cleaning, and establishing the right for guest room attendants to securely work in set areas.
*Providing the best on-the-job safety protections for all classifications, including safety committees, expanding the use of safety buttons to more workers, penalties if safety buttons don’t work, enforcing mandatory room checks for employee and public safety, more security personnel throughout the casino hotels, and tracking sexual harassment, assault, and criminal behavior by customers.
*Strengthening existing technology protections to guarantee advanced notification when new technology is introduced which would impact jobs, require training for new jobs created by technology, health care and severance pay for workers who are laid off because of new technology, the right to privacy from tracking technology introduced by companies, consent in third-party data sharing workers have generated through their work, right to bargain over technology that tracks location of employees or messaging between workers, and putting the human back into HR.
*Extending recall rights so that workers have more job security and have the right to return to their jobs in the event of another pandemic or economic crisis.
*Making clear that the no-strike clause does not prevent the Culinary Union from taking action, including strikes, against non-union restaurants on the casino property, and gives casino workers the right to respect picket lines.
The Culinary Union is the largest labor union in Nevada and alongside the Bartenders Union Local 165, represents 60,000 guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers statewide in the Battle Born State.
Culinary Union has a long and storied history of successfully striking and winning for workers in its 88 year history:
*1967: The Culinary Union initiated a strike against 12 Downtown Las Vegas casino hotels. The strike lasted for six days.
*1970: The Culinary and Bartenders Unions had a work stoppage March 12-15, 1970 against 16 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip for four days. Casinos went dark for the first time in Las Vegas history since they had opened. The impact of the strike was felt throughout the hospitality industry: Airlines reported only handfuls of passengers, taxi cabs were idle, and small hotels throughout the city were vacant. Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt brokered a 24-hour negotiation session between the unions and hotel owners. The Nevada Resort Association estimated a $600,000 in daily loss in profits for casino resorts at the time.
*1976: The Culinary Union joined Musicians Local 369 and Stagehands Local 720 in striking 15 Las Vegas casinos (including Caesars Palace, the Dunes, Circus Circus, and the MGM Grand Hotel) for 16 days, effectively shutting down most of the Strip. 11 casinos (Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Castaways, Silver Slipper, Landmark, Thunderbird, Sahara, Flamingo Hilton, Las Vegas Hilton, and Tropicana) closed temporarily during the strike. Workers were fighting for a pay increase, plus fortified health and pension benefits. Culinary Union strike kitchen fed about 17,000 picketing workers a day, going through 1,200 loaves of bread, 5,000 pounds of meat: Making 1,500 bologna or ham-and-cheese sandwiches a day. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated overall losses at $131 million during the dispute.
*1984: More than 17,000 Culinary Union members from 32 Las Vegas Strip resorts went on strike alongside IATSE, Bartenders, Musicians Union. Culinary Union members win a contract victory after 53 days on strike, but workers stay out another 2 weeks in solidarity with Musicians and IATSE for a total of 67 days. In one of the largest strikes in Las Vegas history, workers picketed for 67 days, 900 strikers were arrested over the course of the citywide strike. Six casinos (Four Queens, Sam’s Town, California, Holiday International, Holiday Inn South, and Marina Hotel and Casino) did not initially sign union contracts, three resorts become union again over the years. The Holiday International in Downtown Las Vegas closed after the 1984 Strike and eventually reopened as the current unionized Main Street Station. The Marina Hotel and Casino merged with MGM in 1989 as MGM-Marina and was union. Four Queens later becomes union again in 2003.
*1987: The Culinary Union, along other Nevada unions, went on strike with 600 workers walking off the job on September 15, 1987 at Nevada Test Site (Nevada National Security Site). The strike lasted for 10-weeks as the Culinary Union fought for stronger contract language to protect workers from being fired unfairly and without cause. The Culinary Union represented over 600 workers who provided food services at the two classified government facilities, the Test Site and Test Range. 3,000 workers from the different unions honored the action and did not cross picket lines.
*1990: A nine-month strike at the Horseshoe ended in victory for the Culinary Union.
*1991: 500 workers went on strike at the Frontier and stayed out for what was the longest and most successful strike in US history for 6 years, 4 months, and 10 days. Over 550 workers maintained a 24/7 picket line and not one striker ever crossed the line. At the end of the strike, all the strikers were able to return back to work. The Culinary Union was able to negotiate that original workers were brought back to their jobs and workers were provided back pay and benefits. During the course of the strike, 17 strikers passed away and 107 children were born.
The most recent Culinary Union Citywide Strike Vote was in 2018 when 25,000 workers packed the Thomas and Mack and an overwhelming majority voted yes to authorize a strike. Contracts were settled soon after. During the 2018 negotiations, Culinary Union won the strongest and most comprehensive immigration, sexual harassment, automation & technology protections, and safety language in the history of any union in the United States.
Coming to Las Vegas? Ahead of upcoming conventions, Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix (November 16-18), SEMA (October 31-November 3), AWS (November 27-December 1), and the holiday season, the Culinary Union is asking Nevada locals, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support hospitality workers by not patronizing hotels and casinos if there is a labor dispute, if and when there is one. In an event of a strike, support workers and do not cross picket or strike lines. Protect your travel plans by checking www.VegasTravelAlert.org, a website intended as a service for meeting/convention planners and all other travelers who need to know whether labor disputes could impact travel plans in Las Vegas. The website will be updated regularly with information as to which casino resorts are facing an active labor dispute as negotiations continue for new collective bargaining agreements covering 53,000 hospitality workers.
ABOUT CULINARY UNION:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 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 300,000 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 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.
The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.
The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples.
Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting and winning for working families in Nevada for 88 years.