Encore Boston Harbor Workers Authorize Strike, Give Wynn Resorts Deadline

Posted on: June 22, 2023, 10:14h. 

Last updated on: June 22, 2023, 10:33h.

Encore Boston Harbor has been put on alert by the union that represents the bulk of its workforce.

Encore Boston Harbor Unite Here union
Unite Here Local 26 union members who work at Encore Boston Harbor picket outside the integrated resort in Everett, Mass. Union workers have authorized a walkout at the property unless Wynn Resorts satisfies their collective bargaining demands. (Image: Unite Here Local 26)

Unite Here Local 26 officials on Wednesday tallied a vote from members who work at the $2.6 billion integrated casino resort to determine if they want to allow a walkout should Wynn Resorts not meet the union’s demands for its next collective bargaining agreement. Union leaders and Wynn reps have been negotiating new terms since March 9 to no avail.

The local Unite Here chapter announced Wednesday night that 98% of the votes cast were in favor of permitting a strike at Encore Boston Harbor. The union is seeking a “five-star contract with five-star wages and five-star job security,” though more specific terms regarding what sort of pay increases the union is seeking haven’t been made publicly available.

We’re looking to have the same wages, benefits, and work rules that exist in other hospitality employers around Greater Boston, whether that’s the Ritz Carlton or Courtyard Marriott at North Station” Unite Here Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo told the Boston Herald. “We’re not looking for anything more than what other folks who do this kind of work earn in this area.”

Encore Boston Harbor opened in June 2019. The casino is the dominant player among Massachusetts’ three commercial casinos, with MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park being the Wynn competitors.

Bargaining Deadline

After the strike authorization vote was tallied, Aramayo revealed the results and put Wynn Resorts on the clock to meet its bargaining terms. He says if Wynn cannot meet the demands by the end of the month, the union’s approximately 1,400 members who work at Encore Boston Harbor will strike.

Wynn spokesperson Michael Weaver says the casino has been negotiating in good faith and expects a deal to be reached in the near future.

While we are disappointed that the union is instead moving to hold a strike vote, we have indicated to the union that we remain ready to continue our discussions,” Weaver said in a statement.

Weaver explained the company is determining how to best achieve its goal “of providing our employees with competitive wages, benefits, and a working environment that reflects our high standards and the experiences we strive to create.”

Record Quarter

The union negotiations at Encore Boston Harbor come after Wynn Resort experienced its best year ever for its operations in North America in terms of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

For the full year of 2022, these properties generated $1.04 billion of adjusted property EBITDAR, a record for us by a wide margin. These impressive results are a testament to our team’s relentless focus on delivering five-star hospitality, which continues to elevate our properties above our peers as the destinations of choice for luxury guests in both Las Vegas and Massachusetts,” said Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts.

Encore Boston Harbor accounted for $243.3 million of the adjusted property EBITDA. The resort’s performance was propped up by its casino floor, which generated gross gaming revenue of $624.7 million. The property actually won significantly more money in the casino, nearly $730 million, but about $105 million of that was wagered through free play and other player incentives.