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Las Vegas Casino Workers Set Nov. 10 Strike Deadline

Work Stoppage Could Have Major Impact During Formula One Race


The Las Vegas StripCasino workers could give the green flag to a strike just under a week before the Las Vegas Grand Prix Formula One race. Despite some recent movement in negotiations, 35,000 Las Vegas hospitality workers have scheduled a work stoppage on Nov. 10 if a new deal can’t be reached with some of the industry’s largest gaming companies.

Culinary Union officials have been negotiating with Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts for seven months, and members authorized a strike in September. That appears now in sight as talks continue to drag on.

“Economically, the companies have made some movement but we are millions of dollars apart,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said this week.

Major Repercussions

Union members are seeking increases in wages and health care, additional job safety and job training, and job security. The union’s contract expired in September and this week marked the first time a strike date has been set.

The timing could spell some major issues for casinos at a critical time. The union represents a broad range of employees including housekeepers, food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry workers, and kitchen staff.

The F1 race is expected to attract 100,000 visitors per day to the festivities, and casinos have revved up promotions, hotel deals, and gaming opportunities in preparation for the event. The strike could throw a major wrench into those plans.

Employees are set to walk off the job at 18 casinos, including some of the biggest properties on the Strip. With the race approaching, unions have also asked Las Vegas visitors not to cross picket lines.

Still Too Far Apart

Union representatives have said the industry has seen record profits and management should share some of that revenue with workers. Pappageorge has said the companies haven’t been negotiating in good faith and is hoping a looming strike deadline might change their approach.

“At the end of the day, we’ve been at this — we’re into our seventh month — and it’s time for these companies to sit down and negotiate,” he said. “If they’re not willing to do that, then we’re going to ask customers to take their money and spend elsewhere. We have a huge network and ability to communicate with workers across the country and we will do that.”

This could be the largest hospitality workers strike in U.S. history and Las Vegas employees are planning to picket at 45 locations around the city. Pappageorge says workers don’t want to strike, but may not have a choice.

The companies have yet to comment on the deadline. However, Caesars CEO Thomas Reeg hinted that some progress had at least been made on the wage front.

“When we reach an agreement on the contract, it’s going to be the largest increase that our employees have seen in the four decades since we started interacting with the Culinary Union.”