For those not keeping track, the labor dispute between the Culinary Union and Station Casinos is among the most contentious in the U.S., and Culinary’s latest tactic has been to ask famous artists to stop associating with Lorenzo Fertitta, a top executive for Station’s parent company Red Rock Resorts, and his art gallery.
Fertitta is a well-known art collector, and he owns the Lonian Gallery, which includes high-dollar works from some of the most famous artists from the last century, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and more.
In its latest campaign to force Station to negotiate, Culinary has lambasted the gallery, even going so far as to set up a fake website called “Baloney Lonian Gallery” which looks like the official site but takes jabs at Fertitta and Station throughout.
The front page of the site features barbs such as “ART SHOULD SUPPORT WORKERS, NOT CASINO MOGULS!” and makes note of the fact that Red Rock is “the only publicly-traded gaming company in Nevada with an all-white, all-male board of directors.”
In a statement, Culinary spokeswoman Bethany Khan told PlayUSA that famous artists “should not allow their work to lend respectability to a company whose labor practices are anything but respectable. Art should not be used by the rich and powerful to paper over injustice. We ask the artists featured on the Lonian Gallery website to ask Lorenzo Fertitta to take their artwork off that website.”
Other artists featured on the site include Richard Prince, Nobuyoshi Araki and Takashi Murakami.
The battle between Culinary and Station goes back numerous years, and has gone in and out of courts during that time. Culinary has a large presence throughout the state with just about every other big-name operator, but Station has remained staunchly opposed to unionization from the start.
State officials and regulatory agencies have largely thrown their hands up with regard to the dispute, arguing that this is a ruling that must be given by federal labor authorities, where it has sat for months.
Throughout the process, however, the union has been very vocal about its requests and Station’s refusal to accept them.
In the recent release, the union outlined its latest proposals—Culinary is seeking: enhanced benefits for all employees, union and non-union; priority hiring and severance benefits should Station sell or close more properties (it has closed four in the last 18 months); training benefits for employees at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas; and protection for all workers under the standard union job security package.
Culinary noted in the release that Station has not agreed to any of the above.