Tis the season to strike.
Following President Biden’s unprecedented visit to the picket lines of United Auto Workers in Michigan on Tuesday afternoon, by night, tens of thousands of members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions in Las Vegas voted by 95% to authorize a strike against some of Sin City’s largest casinos and resorts.
“Now, Culinary and Bartenders Unions negotiating committee is authorized to call for a strike at 22 casino resorts properties on the Las Vegas Strip between the largest employers MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and Wynn/Encore Resorts. The Culinary Union, which is now authorized to call for a strike at any date or time, has not yet set a strike deadline and continues negotiating in good faith with all gaming companies,” Culinary Workers Union Local 226 wrote in a press release.
BREAKING: Culinary Union announces 95% have voted yes to authorize a Citywide Strike.
— Culinary Union (@Culinary226) September 27, 2023
Both unions represent 60,000 hospitality workers across Nevada, of which 53,000 are based on the Vegas Strip. In Vegas alone, 40,000 workers are employed at the 22 casino resorts, with many of them working for MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts. They noted that “negotiations with casino/hotel employers for a new 5-year contract” are underway.
“Today, Culinary and Bartenders Union members have sent the strongest message possible to the casino industry to settle a fair contract as soon as possible. We have negotiations scheduled next week with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts and it’s up the three largest employers in Las Vegas to step up and do the right thing,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union.
Pappageorge continued, “If these gaming companies don’t come to an agreement, the workers have spoken and we will be ready to do whatever it takes – up to and including a strike. Workers brought every single one of these companies through the pandemic and into a great recovery, and workers deserve a fair share. Companies are doing extremely well and we are demanding that workers aren’t left behind.”
The unions are asking for better wages, benefits, job security protections, and reduced workload, among other things.
If the unions strike, it raises the question of whether President Biden will stand on picket lines along the Vegas Strip with kitchen staff and bartenders.
And any new labor contract that meets the unions’ demands will only force casinos and resorts to raise drink and food prices: inflation.