Non-existent deal with Strip properties signals threat of strike; Caesars has tentative agreement


There appears to be a tentative labor agreement that would cover about a quarter of the 50,000 hotel and casino workers that are threatening to strike in Las Vegas.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said in a tweet Friday that the new five-year deal covers about 12,000 workers at nine Caesars Entertainment casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.  But negotiations went nowhere with the majority of the other properties.

“It’s not fair for them to be holding us back,” said Karina Castro-Martinez, convention set up at Mandalay Bay.  “They’re growing, they’re thriving and we deserve the same thing and that’s what we’re fighting for.” 

Tens of thousands of bartenders, housekeepers, bellmen and other unionized workers at 34 casino-hotels on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas have sought a new, five-year contract since February. The current contracts expired at midnight.

Ninety-nine percent of about 25,000 workers voted last week to authorize a strike after contracts expire. 

“We are the union. We are united. Until all my brothers and sisters have a contract, I’m in the fight,” said Chad Neanover, Margaritaville cook at the Flamingo.

Since the union didn’t reach an agreement by Thursday’s deadline, both sides left the negotiating table.

“If we have to then we’re going to have to go on strike,” said Kimyou Taing,  Works at the Bellagio Buffet.  “Nobody wanted to go on strike.”

“We are very solid and say the only way we’re going to get our contract, until now is to get ready to be in a strike,” said Geoconda Arguello Kline, secretary/treasurer for the Culinary Workers Union.”

On Tuesday, the Culinary Union voted to agree to organize to strike. Among their demands: Higher wages, protection against technology taking over their jobs, and a safer work environment.

“It’s a very difficult decision for the workers to go strike but when you know your future is in jeopardy, you take and you say im going to fight for my family and do whatever it takes,” said Arguello Kline.

No date has been set, but they’ve started signing up for strike pay, financial assistance and picketing shifts.

The last city-wide walkout was back in 1984.  The 67 day strike affected 32 resorts costing casinos the equivalent of $250 million dollars today, according to industry experts.

“We’re only asking for what’s fair and we’re still struggling,” said Castro-Martinez.

The specifics of the Caesars Entertainment agreement have not been released and the deal still requires ratification.  Meanwhile, the last statement released by MGM Resorts indicated they were confidant an agreement would be reached but of course, that hasn’t happened. 

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