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US – Culinary Union sets strike deadline of February 2, for 8,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas

By - 10 January 2024

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions have set a strike deadline of Friday, February 2, 2024 at 5:00am Pacific for 7,700 hospitality workers across 21 independent casinos in Las Vegas. If negotiations breakdown ahead of the strike deadline, the Culinary and Bartenders Unions’ worker negotiating committee may call for strike sooner at individual properties.

Last year, members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions voted to authorize a Citywide Strike after tens of thousands of hospitality workers packed the Thomas and Mack Center in September 2023 to cast their votes. Contracts for remaining unsettled properties expired June 1, 2023 and all contract extensions have been terminated. Terms and conditions of an expired collective bargaining agreement largely remain in effect, including wages, benefits, and job security protections, but the no-strike provisions are no longer in effect – which allows workers to go on strike anytime.

The Culinary Union has prepared for the strike by amassing supplies and materials to maintain strike stations with multiple picket lines around casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas, continuing to sign workers up for strike pay and shifts on the strike line, and urging companies to agree to a fair contract now. If an agreement for a new contract is not reached by Friday, February 2, 2024 at 5:00am then negotiations would cease, labor demonstrations will begin outside of casino properties, and strikes would be called.

As negotiations intensify and the strike deadline looms, the Culinary Union is communicating with hospitality workers throughout the city and getting them ready for strikes that could occur anytime between today and February 2, 2024. The Culinary Union has also begun contacting locals, customers, investors, company board members and partners, regulators, and community allies about the impending citywide strike risk in Las Vegas. Culinary Union will also commence large-scale labor demonstrations, including workers picketing before and after their shifts, ahead of the deadline.

“We’ve been working hard since last year to win historic contracts with Big 3 and several independent casinos, but we aren’t done yet. It’s time for 7,700 workers employed at 21 properties to get a fair contract and have security for themselves and their families. Corporations are making record profits and workers deserve to have record contracts,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Workers at the Strip Independents and Downtown deserve the same wage increases, benefit protections, safety and technology language, and reductions in workloads as the rest of the Strip and they are organized and ready to fight for it. No one wants to strike, but workers are serious and will strike if they have to and the Culinary Union has their back every step of the way. Culinary Union celebrates our 89-year anniversary this year and we know first-hand the organizing and militancy it has taken to build Nevada’s middle class and what it will take to ensure working families can thrive. Nothing in our nine decades has been easily won and our good jobs weren’t simply handed to us. We made hospitality jobs in Las Vegas family-sustaining jobs with decades of sacrifice and strength, and we will continue to win what we deserve – a great union job with fair wages, job security, and the best health care benefits so that workers can continue to provide for their families.” 

“I am a mom of three daughters and I was able to raise my children and not have to worry about medical bills if they were ever sick because I have the best health care. Now, I’m fighting to protect my benefits and win a fair wage increase,” said Maria Polanco, cashier at Rio and Culinary Union member for 20 years. “I have talked to my family about this contract fight and they support me. They all know that I’m ready to go on strike if necessary and they have my back, which important to me because that gives me the strength to keep organizing and pushing. Being a union member has changed my life and my co-workers and we are united to win the best contract ever.”

“We are fighting to have the same wages increase as the rest of the Strip because we deserve to know that we are secure with a new union contract. I’ve been working at Trump Hotel Las Vegas for 12 years, but my current salary is not enough. When I go grocery shopping I have to look for sales to make ends meet,” said Marisela Olvera, Housekeeping inspector at Trump Hotel and Culinary Union member for 7 years. “During the pandemic, we kept the hotel running and it is successful because of us. The most important item in the contract for me is the security proposal to win safety buttons for housekeepers so we are safer at work. My coworkers and I are ready to fight and we are united to win the best contract ever!”

“When I first started working at the Westgate, there used to be five union restaurants, but after four decades there is only one now – the steakhouse where I work,” said Ray Lujan, Food server at the Westgate and Culinary Union member for 42 years. “The non-union restaurant workers don’t have the same health care benefits, pension, or wage increases as us union members. I want the right to support non-union worker picket lines and that proposal on the table in negotiations is important to me. I went on strike back in 1984 at the Westgate and I’m willing to go on strike again to win the best contract ever. One job should be enough.” 


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