Culinary Union sets STRIKE deadline of Friday, November 10, 2023 at 5:00am for 35,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas, strike would be the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history



Thursday, November 2, 2023 


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088

Culinary Union sets STRIKE deadline of Friday, November 10, 2023 at 5:00am for 35,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas, strike would be the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history

PHOTOS & BROLL from October 25 rally and arrest action on the Las Vegas Strip

VIDEO from 11/2 virtual media availability

Las Vegas, NV -  After 7 months of negotiations with the three largest private employers in Las Vegas, the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have set a STRIKE DEADLINE of Friday, November 10, 2023 at 5:00am Pacific for 35,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas. The Culinary Union intensifies preparation for the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history by amassing supplies and materials to maintain 45 different strike stations with multiple picket lines around casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, continuing to sign workers up for strike pay and shifts on the strike line, and urging companies to agree to a fair contract now.

A strike would impact 18 casino resorts on the Strip: 8 MGM Resorts properties (Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM), 9 Caesars International properties (Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq), and Wynn Resorts if an agreement for a new 5-year contract is not reached by the deadline.

As the Culinary Union continues to communicate to hospitality workers throughout the city and get workers ready to strike, tens of thousands 2023 Strike Q&A explainers have been circulated inside the casino employee dining rooms throughout the city since early October as the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have been getting workers ready to walk off their jobs in what would be the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history.

Preparation for a strike comes as UNITE HERE hospitality workers employed at MGM Resorts International MGM Grand - Detroit have been on strike since October 17, 2023.

“A month ago, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike and we have continued negotiating in good faith, but unfortunately companies haven’t made enough movement in negotiations. Their current proposal on the table is historic, but it’s not enough and workers deserve to have record contracts - especially after these giant corporations are enjoying their record profits,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We have been preparing for months for a strike and amassing everything we need to maintain a 24/7 strike line at every casino: Tablets for strike sign-in, picket signs, portable bathrooms, tables, chairs, bullhorns, lumber for picket sign sticks, generators, sunscreen, banners, canopies, water, hotspots, and more items are arriving every day. Culinary Union has mailed out STRIKE ID CARDS to all potential strikers and is educating workers on how to look up their bank routing and account number to sign up for strike pay. Culinary Union celebrated our 88-year anniversary yesterday and we know first-hand the organizing and militancy it has taken to build Nevada’s middle-class and what it will take to ensure working families can thrive. Nothing in our nine decades has been won the easy way and our good jobs weren’t handed to us. We made hospitality jobs in Las Vegas family-sustaining jobs with decades of sacrifice and strength, and we will once again win what we deserve - a great union job with fair wages, job security, and the best health care benefits so that workers can provide for their families. We will strike on Friday, November 10, 2023 because when Culinary Union members do well in Nevada all Nevadans benefit.”

“I was working at MGM Resorts during the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, so I have seen the highest highs and the lowest lows. I know how much we have helped them succeed. We were there every step of the way. We sacrificed and worked so hard by going above and beyond. We even went back to work when there was no hope of a vaccine, but they are showing us now that they don’t care and we can’t stand for that,” said Tiffany Thomas, a guest room attendant at MGM Resorts’ Mandalay Bay and Culinary Union member for 17 years. “I am willing to go on strike because I have a 10-year-old daughter who comes to negotiations with me and she is going to inherit all of this. I refuse to sit back and watch what we’ve built crumble. I want my daughter to look at me and know I fought for a better future. My co-workers and I are united and we are fighting for generations to come. We are ready to strike.”

“I am ready to strike because we have to hold the line on what we believe is important: Wages, job security, and protection language - including for upcoming technology, are what we need in this contract,” said James Tanner, bartender at Caesars Entertainment Corporation’ Paris Casino and union member for 32 years. “My mom was working for the old MGM casino and they went on strike in 1984. Because of that strike we won the amazing health insurance that we all have now, including what my family and I have to this day as a second-generation union member. Going on strike is an important thing that I don't take lightly. Growing up our family made a big sacrifice, but I would do it again for the things that matter: Job security, health care, and the things that really provide stability in your life. When we do big things together, we will win. We win as Culinary and Bartenders Unions, sticking together to succeed.”

"I'm willing to go on strike for wage increases, safety at work, and technology language,” said Kimberly Doppler, a cocktail server at Wynn Las Vegas and Culinary Union member for 25 years. “Safety concerns are a big issue in contract negotiations. I think safety buttons need to be expanded and available to more classifications throughout the hotel & casino. Things happen in the middle of the casino floor, where immediate action needs to be taken, and there's no security around. I had a guest touch me inappropriately before and it took a while before it was resolved. If we had more safety buttons installed around the bars that would help cocktail servers and bartenders. We need a contract to guarantee that we win these safety protections. To my fellow union members, we need to stand strong and remain united. It's very important to show the company our union strength."


*TBD - MGM Resorts International: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM.

*TBD - Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq.

*TBD - Wynn Resorts.

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. Since April, the Culinary Union has been negotiating over contracts for 35,000 workers with the three largest private employers in Las Vegas: MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and Wynn/Encore Resorts.

As of September 15, 2023, 35,000 workers employed at 18 casino resorts among the three largest gaming employers in the state (MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts) are working under an expired contract and are at risk of a major labor dispute. 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 allows workers to go on strike now that there has been a successful strike authorization, and if the Culinary and Bartender Unions and employers do not come to an agreement before a strike deadline. 

Members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions voted by 95% to authorize a Citywide Strike after tens of thousands of hospitality workers packed the Thomas and Mack Center on campus at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas to cast their votes on September 26. 

Culinary Union released a report on October 6:  “The Human Cost of High Hotel Profits: A Survey of Las Vegas guest room attendants.” The report details results from an April 2023 - August 2023 survey of 1,846 guest room attendants who are employed at MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and Wynn Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Among other findings, 88% reported pain or discomfort while working, 67% reported management did not provide adequate cleaning supplies and equipment, and 57% have been seen by a doctor for work-related pain or injury.

Thousands of Culinary and Bartenders Union members picketed on the Las Vegas Strip, for the first time in nearly two decades on October 12, in front of 8 different MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment casinos. On that day, the Vice-President of the United States visited with Culinary Union members to show her support to workers who are fighting for a contract: “I wanted to come by and just acknowledge the Culinary [Union] workers. I have known their work for years. And they are true champions for working people. And so just came by to say hello to them. And to thank them for standing up for all working people. When they are in this fight, all people, all working people really do benefit. So I applaud them.” - Vice President Kamala Harris.

On October 25, thousands of hospitality workers rallied on the Las Vegas Strip and 75 workers participated in a non-violent civil disobedience arrest action in front of Bellagio and Paris Casino as worker continue to push for a new union contract. 

Culinary and Bartenders Unions are negotiating a new 5-year contract with the following casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip where contracts at 18 properties are expired:
*MGM Resorts International: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM.

*Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq.

*Wynn Resorts

Culinary and Bartenders Unions are also negotiating a new 5-year contract with the following 24 casino-resort companies that are still under a contract extension:

*Las Vegas Strip: Circus Circus, Four Seasons, Hilton Grand Vacations, Mirage, Rio, Sahara Las Vegas, Strat, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Trump Hotel Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels, Waldorf Astoria, and Westgate.

*Downtown Las Vegas: Binion’s, Circa, Downtown Grand, El Cortez, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Main Street, The D Casino, and Plaza.

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, 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. 

Citywide contract negotiations are led by Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer and chief negotiator Ted Pappageorge and President Diana Valles, and also Bartenders Union Secretary-Treasurer Terry Greenwald and President Lana Loebig. There have been multiple rounds of negotiations with the top three employers on the Las Vegas Strip, but still no agreement for a new 5-year contract has been reached.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 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, 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.

*2002: A 10-day strike at the Golden Gate was successful when workers fought and won a strong contract.

Coming to Las Vegas? Ahead of upcoming conventions, SEMA (October 31-November 3), Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix (November 16-18), AWS (November 27-December 1), the Rodeo (December 7-16), Consumer Electronics Show (January 9-12), World of Concrete (January 23-25), the International Surface Expo (January 24-26), SHOT Show 2024 (January 23-26), NAHB IBS 2024 (February 27-29), Superbowl LVIII (February 11), 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 and where there is a labor disputeIn an event of a strike, support workers and do not cross picket or strike lines. Protect your travel plans by checking, 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.


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. / @Culinary226 


Get Connected