In Las Vegas, high-stakes negotiations between the city’s biggest operators and biggest unions are said to be making some progress, but with no deal yet in place, the possibility of a strike is very much alive.
Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union Local 226, recently said that there’s been “some movement” in talks, but if the decision had to be made right now, “it wouldn’t be enough,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Pappageorge added that several key points of convention, including the reinstatement of daily room cleaning and other workload-related matters, have not been ironed out as of yet.
Members of both Culinary as well as Bartenders Local 165 already voted in favor of a strike authorization back on September 26, but no deadline has been announced as the parties continue to work towards a deal to avoid the first citywide Las Vegas strike in more than 30 years.
Meetings with the “Big 3”—those being Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment—have been ongoing since April, when the previous labor contract expired. Approximately 40,000 of the 53,000 total union members affected by the potential strike come from those three companies.
“When these companies are making incredible profits — record profits — workers deserve record contracts,” Pappageorge said, as reported by the Sun. “Cost of rent, the cost of groceries and gas, electricity — all are increasing. These companies must be prepared to share the wealth.”
In recent weeks, the unions have ramped up their efforts to get a deal in place by organizing displays of “mass action civil disobedience,” including marches and pickets in front of several prominent Strip properties. In late October, some 75 Culinary members were arrested for disrupting traffic during protests.
While some maintain that the potential of a strike, especially with the city’s upcoming slate of events such as this month’s inaugural Formula 1 race, will be enough to get a deal done, others are less sure, especially now that casino workers in Detroit are currently striking with no deal in place.
As such, the threat of a strike is still very much alive, and Pappageorge asserted that workers are ready to take such action if necessary.
“We are preparing,” he said, as reported by the Sun. “And I would say that we’re also in good spirits. I think the workers are strong.”