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THE GAMALYZE CHALLENGE

Las Vegas Casino Workers Ready to Strike If Demands Not Met

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Las Vegas finds itself at a crossroads once again as the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Local 165 unions are threatening a strike. They have issued a strike deadline of February 2 for approximately 7,700 hospitality workers at almost two dozen properties on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas.

Las Vegas at Odds

This looming labor action would take place just nine days before the city's highly anticipated hosting of Super Bowl LVIII. It casts a shadow over the iconic destination's reputation for seamless operations and impeccable service.

The deadline the unions and their members set stems from ongoing contract negotiations between the union and the hotel companies representing these properties. The union seeks similar wage increases, benefits and job protections for workers at these casinos as those recently secured in contracts with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Las Vegas. Those contracts included 32% salary increases over the course of five years, a substantial boost for the hospitality workforce.

At the forefront of the negotiations is Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer of Culinary Workers Union Local 226. Argüello-Kline, a staunch advocate for her members, has repeatedly emphasized the union's determination to secure a fair and equitable contract for the workers who form the backbone of Las Vegas' hospitality industry. "Our members are the heart and soul of the Las Vegas hospitality industry," she stated, "and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their hard work and dedication."

Unprecedented Disruption of Activity

Contract negotiations with the 21 properties commenced after contracts expired on June 1, 2023. Since then, both parties have engaged in a series of meetings, attempting to bridge the gap between their respective demands. However, reaching an agreement has proven elusive.

The properties at the center of strike negotiations include Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Rio Hotel and Casino, Sahara Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels, Circa Resort and Casino, Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel and Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. For several of these properties, a strike would represent an unprecedented move, as workers have not threatened to walk off the job since the Culinary Union was founded in 1937.

Should a strike materialize, its repercussions would reverberate throughout Las Vegas' hospitality landscape. The potential disruption of operations at some of the city's most popular tourist destinations could have a significant impact on the local economy, affecting not only the affected properties but also the wider hospitality sector.

Amidst the looming strike deadline, Argüello-Kline has urged the companies to return to the bargaining table and make a fair offer to their workers. She has also expressed confidence in her members' unwavering support, assuring that they stand united in their pursuit of a just contract.

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