Former VP Joe Biden Urges Station Casinos to Negotiate With Unionized Workers

Posted on: October 10, 2019, 10:08h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2019, 10:38h.

Former VP Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate, is calling on Station Casinos to immediately negotiate with its workers at several Nevada casinos who have voted to unionize.

Joe Biden 2020 odds politics betting
Joe Biden, seen here in Las Vegas in 2018, is focused on Nevada for his 2020 presidential bid. (Image: Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

In 2016, employees at seven Station Casinos voted to unionize and join the Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 organizations. But union contracts have only been reached at two locations: Palace Station and Boulder Station.

Parent company Red Rock Resorts has refused to sit down and negotiate with the union representing workers at Palms, Sunset Station, Green Valley Ranch, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson. The casino operator is challenging the worker elections through lengthy legal proceedings.

As a lifelong champion for working families and unions, I was troubled to learn that, through costly legal appeals and stalled negotiations, Station Casinos has refused to recognize the outcomes of multiple union elections,” Biden wrote to Red Rock Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III.

“It is imperative that Station Casinos engage in good faith and allow employees … to join employees from Boulder Station and Palace Station in negotiating for health care, benefits, job security, fair scheduling, fair seniority rules, and a fair grievance process,” Biden continued.

Culinary Local 226 did not respond to for comment.

Not Politics

Biden, per PredictIt political odds, is currently trailing Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic ticket. The polls, however, have him with a slight 0.2-point lead.

Nevada is expected to once again be a swing state in 2020. Dating back to 1912, the Silver State has successfully picked the presidential winner in 25 of the last 27 elections (2016 Trump, 1976 Carter being the two times the state got it wrong).

Biden says his letter to Station Casinos “isn’t about bipartisan politics,” but “what’s good for your workers, your business, and Nevada’s economy.”

Red Rock majority owners Lorenzo Fertitta and brother Frank III are major donors to the Republican Party and President Donald Trump. Each donated $1 million to the super PAC leading Trump’s re-election bid, and more cash is expected on the way.

Biden isn’t alone in being a 2020 hopeful attacking the Fertittas for not negotiating with their unionized workers. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted in August that the two Las Vegas tycoons are “billionaire, Trump-supporting Palms Casino owners” who need “to stop ignoring the law and start negotiating with their workers.”

Law of the Union

In May, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered Station Casinos to negotiate with the Culinary union for contracts at the off-Strip Palms Casino Resort.

“This is a refusal-to-bargain case in which the Respondent is contesting the Union’s certification as bargaining representative,” the NLRB Decision and Order declared. “We find that the Respondent has not raised any representation issue that is properly litigable in this unfair labor practice proceeding.”

According to the NLRB, under the federal National Labor Relations Act, employees are “afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union.”

Another non-union Las Vegas casino giant is Sands, which owns The Venetian and Palazzo. The company is controlled by GOP megadonor billionaire Sheldon Adelson.