LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The culinary workers union that services the majority of casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip took a break from its negotiations with Caesars Tuesday to assure the media that it would strike early Friday morning, as planned if it cannot reach a new labor agreement.
In an event orchestrated to dramatically reinforce their position, 250 union negotiators from Local 226 chanted, “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”
In September, 95% of its members voted to authorize a strike at any time, but most likely to occur just before the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
“We’re not where we need to be,” said union secretary-treasurer Ted Pappageorge. He said his membership is underpaid and overworked, and that the benefits packages are not adequate. He also pointed to workplace safety and technological advancement threatening his workforce as other sticking points.
“No one wants to strike, but you’ve seen our members are resolute,” Pappageorge said. “They’re strong.”
While the union has held several events and demonstrations in recent months, it refuses to provide publicly specific figures and the extent to which the parties disagree on certain issues.
“We plan to be very public about making sure that we get a great contract and putting pressure on these companies to do what they need to do,” Pappageorge said. “And nobody’s going to be more public than us about that. But when it comes to the actual numbers, that’s just not what we do. We think that it’s unfair to the companies to propose dollars and cents in public.”
Pappageorge and a handful of union workers who spoke on behalf of the negotiators Tuesday said they are being asked to do more for less pay, especially since resorts and casinos returned to full service as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, and not compensated accordingly.
Jennifer Marshall, a food server at the Paris for over two decades, said the workers deserve their share of the record profits the major casinos make.
“That’s all we want,” Marshall said.
She continued, saying she feels disrespected by the resorts and casinos. “The company has made billions on our back.”