Union workers prepare for possible strike; tentative deal reached with Caesars Entertainment

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Thousands of casino workers could walk off the job, as the threat of a union strike still looms. 

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 did reach a tentative agreement with Caesars Entertainment early Friday morning. However, negotiations went nowhere with the majority of the other properties, including MGM Resorts International.

More than 25,000 union workers made signs Friday, preparing to go on strike. 

If the agreements are not reached soon, it could be the biggest strike the Valley’s hospitality industry has seen in more than three decades. Still, some workers are against forming picket lines and say they just want this all to end.

Loud chants, picket signs, and a call to action saw thousands of hospitality workers on the Strip preparing to go on strike. Among their demands: higher wages, a safer work environment, and protection against technology taking their jobs.

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

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

But not all members are in agreement.

“I hope it doesn’t come to a strike because ultimately, it’s a no-win. It looks bad for both sides,” said Donna Fugate, a Bartender at Mesa Grill in Caesar’s Palace.

Fugate has worked on the Strip for two decades and has never felt this concerned.

“It’s scary, after being here for 20 years, it’s scary not knowing, last night, sitting there watching the news, and not knowing if I’m going to have a job tomorrow,” Fugate said.

Overnight, Caesars Entertainment agreed to a five-year deal for 12,000 employees at nine of their properties. Even though Fugate is now in the clear, she wants everyone else to also feel secure.

“I just hope it gets resolved quickly, not only for the employees, for Caesar’s and the rest of the properties to get back to business as normal, and for our guests not to have to worry about what they’re coming into,” Fugate said.

Since midnight Friday, contracts for 25,000 workers at 25 resorts and casinos have been expired, with MGM Resorts International being the biggest employer. No word as of Friday night on any forward movement between MGM and the Culinary Union.

The union maintains that going on strike is their only option at this point.

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