Las Vegas casinos face imminent city-wide strike

By Harrison Sayers

Efforts to avoid a crippling casino strike in Las Vegas appear to have failed, as a deadline to renew 50,000 workers union contracts passed without resolution.

The deadline to renew the hospitality workers contracts passed on May 31st at midnight, meaning that 34 casinos in Las Vegas are now operating without settled union contracts. 

On 22 May, 25,000 union members voted 99% in favour of authorising a city-wide strike if their demands were not met by the contract renewal deadline. As a result of the contract expiry, the Las Vegas Culinary union and the city's Bartenders union are readying themselves for strike action with the former establishing a 'Strike HQ' and drawing up initial pickets of the city's casinos.

A key part of the dispute centres on the Culinary and Bartenders Unions demands to have the new contracts include language which “provide greater measure of security for members including workplace safety, sexual harassment, subcontracting, technology, and immigration”, calls which thus far have gone unanswered from the industry.

In addition, a survey recently conducted by the union reported that out of 10,000 Las Vegas casino workers, 59% of cocktail servers and 27% of hotel house keepers said they had been sexually harassed while at work.

A recent UNITE HERE gaming research report claimed that a month-long strike would cost MGM and Caesars over $300m in operating profits. The last city-wide strike in 1984, also led by the Culinary Union saw thousands on the Las Vegas Strip take action which lasted 67 days and severely impacted the cities hospitality industry.

 

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