Nevada Regulators Take Neutral Stance on Station-Culinary Dispute

The feud between Station Casinos and Culinary Local 226 is one of the nastiest and longest-running labor disputes in the country, but Nevada’s regulators have remained largely silent, much to the chagrin of union officials such as Ted Pappageorge (l.). State officials are saying that they’re waiting for a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.

Nevada Regulators Take Neutral Stance on Station-Culinary Dispute

Station Casinos has been very busy in recent months—the company is rapidly expanding its footprint in the Las Vegas Valley, including the $750 million Durango Station project, and has recently partnered with IGT to roll out cashless technology at a number of its properties. However, its ongoing dispute with Culinary Local 226 continues to play out alongside those developments.

Union officials have been present at every regulatory meeting for the last six-plus months, putting pressure on the state’s regulatory bodies to take action on the matter, if possible. For the most part, officials have stayed silent, but members of the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) recently gave their first comments on the matter.

In August, Culinary’s Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge asserted during an NGC hearing that “all gaming industry workers in Nevada have a right to know whether or not state regulators have the power to discipline bad actors like Station Casinos,” given the agency’s lack of clarification.

He went on to add, “And if you can’t act here and are powerless, we want you to tell us. By all means if you’re powerless here, tell us what we can do to give you the power to hold bad actors like Station Casinos accountable.”

During a September licensing hearing for two executives from Station’s parent company, Red Rock Resorts, NGC Commissioner Steven Cohen said that the agency does not wish to “intervene or intertwine in ongoing litigation.”

“I certainly do not want to be responsible for anything that would harm the Culinary union and any positions they are taking. I certainly don’t want to harm any positions that Station Casinos may have,” he added.

The litigation that Cohen was referring to goes back years, and is currently under review by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Cohen and others maintained that the NGC or any other regulator will not take definitive action without a ruling from the NLRB.

Culinary has attempted to unionize at several Station properties for many years, which has resulted in several votes, appeals and even a lawsuit against Station.

Nevada District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled earlier this year that Station did attempt to interfere with a union vote at its Red Rock Resort property by announcing a bolstered benefits package to employees around the same time that the vote was set to take place.

“I have no idea when and if there will be resolution,” Cohen said at the September hearing. “My comments are aimed at then—when and if there is a resolution. If there were finality to anything in the documentation, then I think there would be different questions for you than I have today.”