Las Vegas hospitality workers vote by 95% to authorize a strike on the Las Vegas Strip, negotiations continue while a strike deadline not yet set -



Tuesday, September 26, 2023


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Las Vegas hospitality workers vote by 95% to authorize a strike on the Las Vegas Strip, negotiations continue while a strike deadline not yet set - 

Las Vegas, NV – Members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have 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 in two sessions to cast their votes.

Now, Culinary and Bartenders Unions negotiating committee is authorized to call for a strike at 22 casino resorts properties on the Las Vegas Strip between the largest employers MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and Wynn/Encore Resorts. The Culinary Union, which is now authorized to call for a strike at any date or time, has not yet set a strike deadline and continues negotiating in good faith with all gaming companies.

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. As of September 15, 2023, 40,000 workers employed at 22 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.

“Today, Culinary and Bartenders Union members have sent the strongest message possible to the casino industry to settle a fair contract as soon as possible. We have negotiations scheduled next week with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts and it’s up the three largest employers in Las Vegas to step up and do the right thing,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “If these gaming companies don’t come to an agreement, the workers have spoken and we will be ready to do whatever it takes - up to and including a strike. Workers brought every single one of these companies through the pandemic and into a great recovery, and workers deserve a fair share. Companies are doing extremely well and we are demanding that workers aren’t left behind.”

“I voted yes to authorize a strike because I’m fighting for my family and for our future,” said Maria Sanchez, a guest room attendant at the Bellagio and Culinary Union member for 3 years. “The workload since the pandemic has been intense and when I get home I’m so tired and I don’t have energy to take my two kids to the park or play with them. I feel sad like I’m just living to work and it’s not right. I was thinking about getting a second job, but I’m already doing more than one job at work right now and I believe that one job should be enough! I voted yes to win the best contract ever so that I can work one job and come home to spend time with my children.”

“I’m fighting to win the best contract ever with the best wage increases we’ve ever had, to protect out union benefits, and to make sure we have the workload reduction and technology language we need so that we aren’t left behind,” said Angelica Romero, a houseperson at the Encore Casino and Culinary Union member for 15 years. “I voted yes to authorize a strike because I am ready to do whatever it takes - include going on strike to win what we deserve.”

“I was at the Thomas and Mack today to have my voice heard. I was proud to voted yes to authorize a strike to protect my future,” said Roselyn Buie, a cook at the Flamingo and Culinary Union member for 37 years. “I’ve worked hard for decades to provide for my family and I want to continue to protect my retirement and pension. If I have to go on strike to win the best contract ever, then I’m ready to do that in order to win for my family and have my fair share of what we deserve.”

Earlier in September, the Culinary and Bartender Unions sent a formal letter to eight of the MGM Resorts International properties, each of the 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 40,000 Culinary and Bartenders Union members are 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 eight of the MGM Resorts properties, each of the Caesars Entertainment properties, and Wynn/Encore Resorts adding up to 22 casino resort properties on the Las Vegas Strip among those employers.

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 and Bartenders Unions are negotiating a new 5-year contract with the following casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip where contracts at 22 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/Encore Resorts

Culinary and Bartenders Unions are also negotiating a new 5-year contract with the following casino resorts 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 tentative 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, 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.

Coming to Las Vegas? Ahead of upcoming conventions, HLTH (October 8-11), TwitchCon (October 20-22), 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 there is a labor dispute, if and where 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, 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 UxNITE 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 


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