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Over 50K Vegas Casino Employees Warn of Possible Strike

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If the ongoing contract negotiations between labor unions and casino workers in Las Vegas fail to produce any results, a strike vote will be called for by the end of this month. Union leaders who advocate for the interests of 53,000 employees on both the Strip and the entertainment hub of the city are preparing for the worst.

No News Not Always Good News

The absence of a fresh agreement was confirmed by Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 in an announcement made on Thursday. The unions have engaged in numerous discussions with heads of sports unions regarding the formation of a novel five-year collective bargaining agreement.

Related: Casino Workers Vote for Unlimited Strike in Montreal over Fair Compensation

Negotiations between the union and MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts have been ongoing since April. These three behemoth companies are responsible for employing a staggering 38,000 non-gaming workers on the Strip.

In a statement, Ted Pappageorge, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Union, expressed his disappointment regarding the ongoing negotiations and the distance still prevalent between the casinos and various non-player employees. These employees include hotel staff, bar and restaurant staff, porters, bouncers, cooks, vendors, bartenders, housekeeping and kitchen workers, as well as approximately 50 other positions from the Strip and downtown area.

The power to initiate a strike lies in the hands of the individual pay committee if the measure is supported by a majority of workers. However, the union expressed its intention to prolong ongoing discussions without imposing any specific time limit before launching a walkout.

The union has confirmed that although the contracts with the Vegas properties officially ended in May, they have successfully negotiated contract extensions for various properties located on the Strip. Additionally, any wage modifications mutually decided upon in the contract will be duly reimbursed.

Apart from the enhanced pay and perks, the union is advocating for modifications in language that bolster job stability, reductions in job numbers, safeguarding of technology, and a safer reintegration of numerous employees into the workplace.

A History of Walkouts

In 2018, unionized workers almost walked out. However, they were able to secure a new five-year agreement before beginning a strike. The Vegas entertainment sector faced a significant setback in 1984 when a contract dispute led to 17,000 union workers from 32 resorts on the Strip going on strike. This extensive nine-month strike had consequences, with six casinos ultimately severing their connections with the group.

Throughout its history, The Culinary Union has time and again granted approval for individual property strikes. One of the most remarkable instances of these strikes was the prolonged six-year, four-month, 10-day protest against Frontier that began in September 1991. This particular strike stands as an unprecedented milestone, as it holds the title of being the longest culinary strike in recorded history.

In 2014, an agreement was made between the union and 10 downtown casinos to end their affiliation. However, before the plan could be executed, negotiations resulted in a fresh contract, thereby ceasing the walkout.

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