LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While the culinary workers union that services the majority of casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip seems to have worked out a deal with one casino giant early Wednesday – Caesars Entertainment – it still has two other major companies to negotiate with.
Wednesday night, union officials confirmed day-long talks with MGM Resorts had extended well after dark. Earlier in the day, that company’s CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, said he expects to reach an agreement with Local 226. Union members in September overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike and ultimately issued a deadline of Friday at 5:00 a.m.
Even the deal with Caesars could take up to 10 days for union membership to approve, leaving the possibility of a strike against all three corporations a distinct possibility.
Under that backdrop, during Tuesday’s negotiations with Caesars, the union’s Secretary-Treasurer, Ted Pappageorge, said those 35,000 hospitality workers are ready to strike – just days before the inaugural 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
“We’re not going to accept anything less than what would be a great contract,” Pappageorge said Tuesday at Caesars Palace.
Much is the same in Detroit, where the Detroit Casino Council’s 3,700 casino workers – including some at MGM Grand Detroit – hit the picket lines in mid-October. Now in its fourth week, that strike might give somewhat of a preview should the Culinary Workers Union Las Vegas do the same.
CBS News Detroit reports that as soon as the strike was official, “Some casinos have already closed their valet service to cope with fewer employees and said patrons should expect disruptions in their restaurants as well.”
Other reports say one of the casinos slashed some of its slots, high limit games and the poker room. Certain sportsbooks no longer take wagers in person.
It’s getting so bad for those Detroit workers, CBS News Detroit reports the union there is looking for warm winter clothes donations, as well food items, diapers, formula and other such necessities. “As days grow shorter and temperatures begin to plummet, strikers say donations are even more essential,” CBS News Detroit reported Monday.
Even the workers who the respective unions provide to speak with the media have very similar, almost identical, messages.
In Las Vegas, Jennifer Marshall, a longtime food server at the Paris Hotel, said, “We want our health care. We want our pension. We’re not asking for anything that’s out of line. We just want to be able to live comfortably.”
A casino bartender in Detroit, Susan Gallagher, echoed the same sentiment. “It’s time for us to make our money, keep our insurance the same, we’re not asking for a lot, we’re asking for one job to be enough,” Gallagher told CBS News.
“Las Vegas has always been the one place where the workers can afford things and live a comfortable life and support their families,” Marshall said.
Gallagher was similarly nostalgic about Detroit saying, “When the casinos came to town 34-25 years ago, they promised jobs, good jobs, plentiful jobs, well it’s not that way anymore.”
Those cautionary tales, however, might only encourage Local 226 and its members, who have taken to chanting their support for the Detroit Casino Council, yelling during negotiation intermissions, “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”
“We are in complete solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Detroit,” Pappageorge said.