MGM and Caesers reach tentative union deals with Vegas workers

By Harrison Sayers

MGM and Caesars are attempting to avoid a city-wide strike in Las Vegas, as tentative agreements with union members in Las Vegas have been announced.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the largest local union of UNITE HERE, confirmed the deals between their union members who work for MGM and Casers land-based operations in Las Vegas.

A city-wide strike would have cost the operators $10m a day in operating profits, according to a recent UNITE HERE gaming research report.

On 22 May, 25,000 union members voted 99% in favour of authorising a city-wide strike. This was followed by 34 casinos in Las Vegas failing to meet the renewal deadline for the labour contracts on 31 May.

After the contract renewal deadline passed, it seemed that a city-wide strike would be imminent with the Culinary Union’s establishment of a “Strike HQ”, a space tasked with making strike picket signs.

However, the tentative deal with Caesars Entertainment Corporation was confirmed on Saturday by the union’s spokeswoman, Bethany Khan, announcing a new five-year contract covering 12,000 of the union’s 57,000 members.

The new contracts are reported to include a 2.8% wage increase as well as improved language on worker security regarding sexual harassment, workload, technology, and immigration.

A survey conducted by the union revealed that out of 10,000 Las Vegas casino workers, 59% of cocktail servers and 27% of hotel housekeepers said they had been sexually harassed while at work, reinforcing the need for better worker protection.

A tweet on Saturday from the union’s twitter account confirmed that a second deal had been reached, covering a further 24,000 workers at MGM Resorts International’s ten casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Commenting on the new agreement Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union, said: “This innovative contract sets clear goals regarding technology and automation for worker retention, job training, advance notice of implementation, and severance package. The Culinary Union has fought hard to protect workers over our 83 years and this new agreement is the best contract with the highest wage increases that workers have ever had.” 

Tom Jenkin, Global President and lead negotiator for Caesars Entertainment Corporation added: “We are pleased that all economic and personal security issues have been resolved with this new contract and that employees will continue to provide guests superior service and experiences. This historic agreement ensures that our union team members will continue to be a crucial part of the Las Vegas Dream.”

It is now up to the Strip’s smaller casino operators to re-negotiate their own workers labour contracts in order to avoid a city-wide strike.


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