LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nearly 53,000 hospitality workers from MGM, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn properties, and more are ready to strike if contract negotiations stall.
Culinary Union Local 226 Secretary Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said the last vote to strike was back in 2018. So what’s different this time?
“There’s five big issues out there that have been on the table and been bargaining since April and we haven’t made any progress and economics is one of them, but everyone is dealing with inflation,” Pappageorge said. “Folks need a raise but also we need to negotiate money for health care, those costs are always going up.”
That is something Holly Lange, a cocktail server at MGM Grand is fighting for.
“The wages are a concern because inflation is making it hard. I have six kids and so providing for six kids with the wages and the benefits and all the other things, it’s something that keeps us going,” Lange explained. “One thing with the wages and our allocations, we can’t afford to pay any more for our health benefits than we already are.”
Issues of worker safety and union growth are also on the line.
“There’s also issues on technology, artificial intelligence and that’s a huge issue on technology coming at us that could eliminate jobs,” Pappageorge added.
In an August earnings conference call, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said he expected new agreements by the fall, while MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle told investors wages will have a big impact as pay adjustments for housekeepers will likely add to labor costs.
Caesars housekeeper Emma Loya told 8 News Now that she is hoping for a better work environment.
“Every day it’s hard to keep up with the stations, we’re expected to have all the rooms clean,” Loya said. “Sometimes we are so busy, we just have to skip our lunch because otherwise we won’t be able to complete our rooms.”
As for how much of a raise is the Culinary Union asking for, the union will not go into specifics at this time.
Pappageorge said the union is hoping for a resolution as nobody wants to go on strike, but they will if they have to. Contract negotiations are set for next week.
8 News Now did reach out to several gaming properties for a comment. The Wynn sent the following:
“Wynn Las Vegas has historically had a positive and cordial working relationship with labor unions and has always reached satisfactory agreements with each. Our employees are the heart and soul of Wynn, and we will continue to work with Local 226 and Local 165 to reach an agreement that provides our employees with competitive wages and benefits, in a work environment that matches our high standards.”
Other gaming properties such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM have yet to respond.