Las Vegas Casino Union Claims Americans Want More Labor Organizations

Posted on: July 19, 2021, 02:57h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 04:02h.

The leading casino union in Las Vegas says more workers want a voice on the job. 

Las Vegas casino union Culinary Workers
Members of a Las Vegas casino union earlier this year urge state lawmakers to pass legislation protecting their jobs once they’re again needed. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 says US workers want more unions. (Image: Culinary Workers Union)

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 represents some 60,000 workers employed by Las Vegas and Reno casino resorts. Their members are occupied in a variety of positions, including housekeepers, linen and laundry workers, waitstaff, cooks and bartenders, and porters and bellmen. The organization does not represent table game dealers.

Culinary tweeted this week that there’s a substantial gap among those who are represented by a union, and those who wish they were.

The Culinary Union cited a 2020 study conducted by Gallup that found opinions regarding labor unions continue to improve. The review concluded that 65 percent of Americans support labor organizations, up from its 2009 low of 48 percent.

Eighty-three percent of those who identified as Democrats, but only 45 percent of Republicans, said they favor worker unions. 

Pandemic Problems

Gallup concluded that Americans generally believe that unions help workers. But the public is less inclined to say that such organizations help the US economy. Yet during the pandemic, when the economy tanked, unions helped keep workers employed at a higher rate than non-unionized workforces, according to a study. 

The Economic Policy Institute wrote in January that union workers had more job security during the pandemic than those who were not part of a labor group. 

The number of workers represented by a union declined in 2020, but the unionization rate rose, because union workers saw less job loss than nonunion workers,” the DC-based think tank reported. “This increase in the unionization rate was due, in part, to the fact that unionized workers have had a voice in how their employers have navigated the pandemic, and have used this voice for such things as negotiating for terms of furloughs or work-share arrangements to save jobs.

“This engagement likely played a role in limiting overall job loss among unionized workers,” the policy group determined.

First Dibs

Along with the Las Vegas casino union trying to keep as many of its members as possible employed, Nevada lawmakers earlier this year passed protections for all workers. 

Nevada’s “Right to Return” law, signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) in June, requires that employers, including casinos, give priority to a former employee who was terminated because of the pandemic when rehiring for the same job or a similar position. 

However, some say the law is confusing, and places companies at unnecessary risk of litigation. 

Station Casinos — long an opponent to unions — says a worker has 24 hours to accept or decline a job offer. But the law adds that an individual should be offered the gig three times before being removed from consideration. The act also requires that the hours and position be similar to what the employee previously worked.

“The Culinary Union should come clean and explain to their members and everyone else that the law does precisely the opposite of what it was supposedly intended to do – encourage rehiring,” a Station Casinos statement read.

“It burdens employers with additional and redundant recordkeeping. It exposes employers to costly litigation with every hire, the release continued. “Its reality is flatly inconsistent with the PR spin campaign that has been carefully orchestrated around Right to Return. And it was implemented at the worst possible time, a period when employers can’t get workers back to return to work.”