An economic crisis was averted when the Culinary Union reached new contracts with MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment in early June at 18 Strip casinos. But negotiations continue at numerous other resorts throughout Las Vegas.
The Culinary Union – which represents some 50,000 members employed as kitchen and waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, porters, and bellmen – revealed new terms have been reached at the Stratosphere and Tropicana.
Though details of the five-year contracts weren’t specifically revealed, union officials say they include “the strongest economic package ever negotiated with the highest wage increases and health care and pension benefits for workers.”
The two Strip properties employ more than 2,000 union members.
The Culinary Union has been fighting for higher wages and continued benefits, as well as increased measures to combat sexual harassment. The group is also seeking assurances from casino operators that technological advances that would reduce jobs will not be embraced.
The Associated Press reports that union workers, under the expired contract, received an average compensation of $23 per hour in pay and benefits.
Stratosphere was acquired by Golden Entertainment in 2017. Penn National Gaming, a casino company in Pennsylvania that’s predominantly focused on regional markets, owns Tropicana.
Culinary contracts expired June 1 at 34 casino resorts. The union has reached new deals with most, but negotiations are ongoing at SLS, Treasure Island, and Westgate.
Nine downtown casinos also need to find common ground with the union. They are Binion’s, Downtown Grand, El Cortez, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Main Street Station, and The D.
The union has told workers to picket outside The D Las Vegas on Friday (June 13). It will be the second consecutive Friday they do so. A picket is also planned for outside Margaritaville on the Strip, a non-gaming property located inside the Flamingo Hotel and Casino where contract discussions persist.
Westgate Condemns Picket
Much of the contract negotiations take place behind doors, and details of the finalized arrangements are often privy to only union members.
Smaller casino companies have agreed to deliberate their new terms with the union after it reached deals with larger operators like MGM and Caesars. Officials at Westgate, which was the target of a picket last Friday, said they were disappointed union leaders instructed its members to protest outside the off-Strip resort.
“We have a nearly 50-year history with the Culinary Union and have always been able to find common ground that balances the interests of our union team members and the operational need of our resort,” Westgate told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a statement.
It’s important to note that we accepted the union’s request to hold off on negotiations with us until they finished with some of their larger partners,” the release continued. “We are now dismayed that they are calling for a picket line of our resort before giving us the opportunity to properly negotiate this agreement.”
Westgate additionally said media reports that negotiations stalled are incorrect.