Las Vegas Strike Action Incoming, Some Property Deadlines Extended

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The Culinary and Bartenders Unions in Las Vegas has set strike deadlines for 13 casino properties that have yet to agree new workers’ contracts. Union members at three Las Vegas Strip casinos will walk out tomorrow, Friday, February 2, while downtown casinos have a reprieve until Monday for negotiations to continue.

Some 2,600 workers could strike in the next week if a deal is not reached. Those at Rio, Sahara, and Virgin Las Vegas will walk out on Friday unless a negotiation deadlock is broken by the morning.

Meanwhile, nine downtown Las Vegas operators have been given until Monday to continue discussions. Those casinos include the Golden Nugget, Fremont, Binion’s, and Circa.

Workers will also begin a picket line outside all casinos with unresolved contracts from Friday, although it clarified not all picketers, if any, would be striking.

A dozen independent Las Vegas casinos have reached contracts with workers in recent months, amid booming revenues for the state’s gambling businesses. Those with newly contracted workers include Circus Circus, Treasure Island, the Strat, the Mirage, and the soon-to-be-closed Tropicana.

The record revenues for Nevada casinos have not gone unnoticed by Sin City workers.

“The companies are making profits — business is booming,” said Alicia Watson, who has been a unionized worker at the Golden Nugget for 17 years.

“And so, we’re just saying that we want to be a part of that with them. So that’s why we’re here … We’ve got to show them that we’re here and we’re ready to fight. We’re ready to do the work.”

Super Bowl on the Line

Both unions have taken a similar approach to their contract negotiations, as they did in 2023 in their successful campaign with thousands more worker contracts at the major Las Vegas casino operators.

In November, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment left it until the final days before a strike deadline to reach landmark new contracts with workers.

Interestingly, the timing has even lined up with this latest strike, as for the second time, a major sporting event could be disrupted by strikes.

In 2023, strikes would have impacted the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. In 2024, any strikes would affect casino operations during February’s upcoming Super Bowl LVIII, which is set to be held for the first time in Nevada.

Worker’s Demands

Pay packages, workloads, and job security are all core issues for the union.

“We’re all hoping to avert a strike,” said Culinary Union secretary treasurer Ted Pappageorge, speaking this week.

“No one wants to strike. At the same time, these price and cost-of-living pressures are real. And downtown is not the Strip, but it’s doing quite well — much better than downtown has done in a long, long time. And they’re going to have to pony up to get these workers in a position where they can take care of their families.”

Uniquely among the smaller casinos of Las Vegas compared to the giant resorts, operators have been mulling the idea of dropping daily room cleanings.

They were made mandatory during the pandemic. But that law has since been dropped.

Casino workers say that dropping the requirement not only cuts their hours, but leads to a less- satisfactory experience for guests.

Casino operators say the practice isn’t always necessary and can be judged on a case-by-case basis.

At the same time, Las Vegas bus drivers are threatening strike action this month. A combined strike like that could seriously hit the downtown casinos during Super Bowl weekend. Not only are they budget friendly, so more likely to attract bus users, but they’re also further away from Allegiant Stadium, which is on the opposite southern end of the Las Vegas strip.

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