The Culinary and Bartenders unions, which represent tens of thousands of hospitality workers in Las Vegas, are trying to make it clear – they’re not bluffing.
With the coming inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix promising an historic influx of tourists and enormous logistical challenges for a casino, the unions set a deadline of a week before race day to sort matters out. After seven months of negotiations with the three largest private employers in Las Vegas, the unions on Thursday set a date for when a strike would begin for 35,000 of their members.
If the unions do not have new five-year contracts in place by 5 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, these workers will report to the picket lines instead of to work.
The 35,000 workers set to strike have been working without contracts since Sept. 15.
Casino workers at the MGM Grand Detroit, represented by a different consortium of unions, have been on strike since Oct. 17.
In preparation for a strike in Las Vegas, the Culinary and Bartenders unions have been distributing FAQ flyers in employee dining rooms at casinos since early October. Union leaders also have set up 45 "strike stations" around the city to keep their members informed and organized in advance of walking off the job.
This week, workers began signing up for picket-line duty, which makes them eligible for “strike pay” from the union of up to $400/week.
If these workers do end up walking off the job in protest for better wages, benefits and working conditions, it would be the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history, Culinary Union representatives say.
A strike would impact 18 casino properties on the Strip – 8 MGM Resorts properties (Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM), 9 Caesars Entertainment locations (Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq), and Wynn Resorts, which include both Wynn and Encore.
On a Q3 earnings report call on Tuesday, executives from Caesars confirmed the casino operator was seeing record profits as the company emerges from the pandemic and travelers return to Las Vegas. They also acknowledged the company was prepared to offer its workforce the largest wage increase in nearly a half-century
The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is the largest labor union in Nevada. Working alongside the Bartenders Union Local 165, they collectively represent 60,000 housekeeping attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, laundry and kitchen workers statewide.