Red Rock Casino Workers Ask Federal Agency to Dismiss Culinary Union Legal Challenge

Posted on: May 10, 2022, 09:11h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2022, 10:40h.

A faction of workers at Red Rock Casino in Summerlin, Nev., have asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to dismiss an ongoing organization effort by the Culinary Union.

Red Rock Casino labor Culinary Union Station
A fountain display outside Red Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. The Station Casinos property remains engulfed in multiple high-stakes labor union disputes that involve federal courts and the National Labor Relations Board. (Image: Shutterstock)

Culinary is seeking to organize the resort owned and operated by Station Casinos. The powerful casino workers’ trade group brought allegations soon after Red Rock Casino employees in December 2019 voted against joining the union. Culinary charged that Station purposely interfered with the unionization effort.

After fielding numerous complaints and consolidating the grievances, NLRB Regional Director Cornele Overstreet filed a federal injunction with the US District Court of Nevada. It asked a judge to override the union vote result. While the legal dispute is ongoing, District Judge Gloria Navarro, in an opinion later upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ordered Station/Red Rock Casino to begin negotiating with Culinary in the interim.

This week, Red Rock workers being represented free of charge by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund (NRTW) asked the NLRB in DC to dismiss Overstreet’s federal injunction.

The NRTW told that it’s representing a group of Red Rock workers led by slot machine technician Jereme Barrios. The legal defense nonprofit argues that the NLRB and federal government must respect the vote outcome produced by Red Rock Casino workers and allow a separate union disassociation among slot workers to proceed.

Voter Interference

Red Rock Casino is part of Station Casinos and its publicly traded unit, Red Rock Resorts. Both entities are controlled by Nevada billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III. The Fertittas have long opposed unions, and have to date managed to keep their casinos largely union-free.

Overstreet contends that Station Casinos greatly improved pay and benefits for Red Rock Casino workers ahead of the 2019 union vote. Culinary claims that pre-vote “card checks” relayed adequate support among the workforce to unionize.

The vote, which came back 627-534 in favor of rejecting the Culinary Union, was a result of company interference, so claims the union. The NRTW says that’s not true.

Las Vegas is indeed ‘Sin City’ if the sin is disrespecting workers’ fundamental right to choose freely whether or not union bosses should speak for them,” said NRTW President Mark Mix.

“Foundation attorneys are proud to stand by these courageous workers, who are fighting not only union coercion, but an NLRB Regional Director seemingly determined to undermine the rights of workers opposed to union affiliation,” Mix added.

Slot Workers Want Union Dismissed

In a related but separate legal matter, Barrios claims the NLRB and Overstreet are blocking slot techs’ rights at Red Rock. They are barred from holding a vote to decide whether they wish to remain represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 501.

Barrios asserts that the NLRB matter has resulted in slot techs wishing to rid their union membership. But Overstreet, they claim, has refused to allow the techs to hold such a vote.

Barrios submitted a petition to the NLRB Region 28 in March asking the agency to conduct a union ‘decertification vote’ amongst his fellow slot technicians whether to kick out International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501 officials. The petition contained signatures of a large majority of his colleagues,” a release from the NRTW said.

“However, the Region did not schedule the vote as Barrios and his coworkers had asked. NLRB Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet instead ruled in April that largely unverified and unrelated allegations (also called ‘blocking charges’) union officials had made against management of Station Casinos, Red Rock’s parent company, blocked the technicians from exercising their right to vote whether to remove the union,” the statement continued.