Encore Boston Harbor Union Workers Consider Strike, Vote Underway

Posted on: June 21, 2023, 10:56h. 

Last updated on: June 21, 2023, 11:12h.

Employees at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Mass., are amid a vote to authorize a strike at the property operated by Wynn Resorts.

Encore Boston Harbor Wynn Resorts union
Encore Boston Harbor workers picket outside their workplace as their union leaders negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with Wynn Resorts. Encore workers are voting today to authorize a strike should Wynn not agree to their compensation demands. (Image: Unite Here Local 26)

Encore Boston Harbor opened four years ago this week across the Mystic River from downtown Boston. Wynn spent $2.6 billion bringing the integrated resort envisioned by Steve Wynn, the company’s founder and former CEO, to life.

The five-star resort has since dominated Massachusetts’ three-casino gaming industry. Last year, Encore Boston Harbor generated nearly $730 million in gross gaming revenue.

The resort is seeking state and local approval to expand the property’s footprint south across Broadway to a new structure that will house a WynnBet Sportsbook and poker room, 20,000 square feet of additional restaurant space, a new nightclub, and a 999-seat theater. The facility, projected to cost $1.7 billion, would also include a 2,200-space parking garage.

Workers at the Wynn property say they deserve a bigger cut of the casino’s riches and they’re threatening to walk off the job unless casino management agrees to increase their compensation.

Strike Vote Underway

About 1,400 workers employed at Encore Boston Harbor are represented by Unite Here Local 26. The union’s casino members include housekeepers, cocktail servers, cooks, dishwashers, and bellhops. The union doesn’t represent gaming workers such as table game dealers or slot attendants.

The union’s Wynn workers are today voting on whether to authorize a strike at the property, which union officials say could result in a 24/7 walkout until the company agrees to a new contract.

Encore Boston Harbor is a Forbes Five-Star luxury resort that promised to bring good-paying jobs to the residents of Everett and surrounding towns,” a Unite Here Local 26 statement to Casino.org explained. The title of the release read, “Encore Boston Harbors Workers Continue Their Fight for a Five-Star Contract.”

Union leaders cite the fact that Encore Boston Harbor last year won more money from gamblers than any other casino in the US outside of Las Vegas. Only MGM National Harbor near Washington, DC reported higher GGR.

The collective bargaining agreement for Encore Boston Harbor union members is up for renegotiation. Labor discussions, union reps said, began in early March, but no terms have been reached.

Unite Here officials say should today’s vote go in favor of a strike, union brass would be authorized to initiate a walkout at any moment during the ongoing contract talks until a deal is signed.

Voting Deadline

Unite Here is holding its Encore Boston Harbor vote at its chapter at the Teamsters Local 25 building in Charlestown.

The polling center is just across the Mystic River via Alford Street from their workplace. Union members employed by Wynn Resorts can cast their vote on the strike question until 8:30 pm on Wednesday night.

Unite Here Local 26 casino members have authorized strikes in the past, including one just a year ago this month at Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort in Rhode Island. Bally’s and the union eventually found common ground, and a new bargaining agreement was executed soon after the walkout was approved.