Culinary Union – History of Las Vegas strikes

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This isn’t the first time the city has faced a culinary union strike.

For more than five decades, Las Vegas has faced issues with the unions and strikes including with the culinary union.

8 News NOW Professor James Kraft who wrote a book called “Vegas at Odds: Labor Conflict in a Leisure Economy.”

He said, that while there have been several small strikes over the decades at individual properties, 1976 and 1984 were the last major strikes. The 1984 city-wide walkout impacted 32 resorts and lasted 67 days costing casinos the equivalent of $250 million today.

Kraft said the corporatization of Las Vegas casinos changed the way the unions and casinos negotiated. Negotiations were taken over by so called “bean counters” and there was less of a familial feel to those negotiations.

Kraft said it’s in everyone’s best interest to come to terms without a strike especially in a hospitality based industry.

“Even if management wins whatever it’s hoping to win, one of the last things they would want is a cantankerous, frustrated and angry workforce. There are all sorts of ways that servers, housekeepers and others can express their dissatisfaction with the resort and not put their best foot forward,” Kraft said.

The culinary union says it’s been 16 years since members last voted for a city-wide strike. Even with a vote to authorize a strike, Kraft believes it’s likely terms would be met and a strike avoided.

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