Encore Boston Harbor Casino Workers Give Strike Deadline to Wynn Resorts

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Two unions representing 98% of the workforce at Encore Boston Harbor casino resort in Massachusetts have voted to authorize a strike if their wage demands are not met.

Members met on Wednesday and voted 963-13 in favor of a strike.

If Wynn Resorts does not reach a satisfactory conclusion with them beforehand, members of the Unite Here Local 26 and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25 unions will begin a strike at midnight on June 30.

That covers some 1,400 workers across all aspects of the casino’s operation, including bar staff, cooks, room attendants, cleaners, drivers, and others.

Union representatives like Monike Martin have made much of Encore Boston Harbor’s 5-star hotel rating and nationally respectable casino revenue figures during discussions.

“We’re just asking for basics. We’re working on a property that is a five-star casino resort, and we are the engine that makes that big money machine go,” Martin said. “For me, it’s a matter of respect. We deserve a five-star contract.”

Related: The top online casinos for Massachusetts players, expertly rated

Compensation Market Parity

Union workers have had the same contract with Wynn Resorts and Encore since it opened in June 2019. It expired in April, despite discussions on a new contract starting on March 9. No details of the proposals have been released by either party.

Wynn Resorts spokesperson Michael Weaver gave an official statement yesterday on the state of discussions.

“Encore has been actively bargaining in good faith with Unite Local 26 and Teamsters Local 25 since early March,” he said. “We have provided a proposal that directly addresses the union’s request for compensation market parity.”

The casino resort is the most prestigious, popular, and profitable of the three Massachusetts commercial casinos. The others are MGM Springfield and Penn Entertainment’s Plainridge Park.

Wynn Resorts also saw record earnings across its North American operations in 2022, totaling revenues of $1.04 billion.

Yet some workers who joined Encore Boston Harbor from its competitors claim their new salary is smaller.

The unions also point out that workers at Wynn’s Las Vegas casinos are paid more than their equivalent positions at Encore. That’s despite the cost of living in the Boston area being higher.

Unite Here Local 26’s President Carlos Aramayo said it was all about fairness, in comparison to other Massachusetts hospitality venues.  

“We’re looking to have the same wages, benefits, and work rules that exist in other hospitality employers around Greater Boston, whether that’s the Ritz Carlton or Courtyard Marriott at North Station,” he told the Boston Herald. “We’re not looking for anything more than what other folks who do this kind of work earn in this area.”

Strike Action

Wynn, meanwhile, said they have offered what they believe is acceptable and are “fully prepared” to remain open if the strike happens.

They had been negotiating “with the goal of providing our employees with competitive wages, benefits, and a working environment that reflects our high standards and the experience we strive to create,” said Weaver’s statement.

“While we are disappointed that the union has voted to strike, we have indicated to the union that we remain ready to continue our discussions. We will continue business operations while we work to resolve the issue and are fully prepared to serve our guests if a strike should occur.”

If that does happen, Encore may find it hard to continue operations with 98% of staff on the picket lines. Members say there will be ongoing action 24/7, seven days a week, until the issue is sorted.

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