Red Rock Resort, Station Casinos Ordered to Bargain with Culinary Union

Posted on: April 14, 2022, 05:34h. 

Last updated on: April 14, 2022, 11:48h.

Red Rock Resort (RRR) and its owner, Station Casinos, have been dealt another legal defeat. The latest is coming from US Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Wedekind. The judge yesterday issued a cease-and-desist order and instructed the casino to negotiate with the Culinary Union.

Red Rock Resort Station Casinos Culinary Union
A Station Casinos employee who works at Red Rock Resort is seen picketing in support of unionizing the Summerlin, Nevada, property. A federal judge this week ordered the Las Vegas casino operator to begin negotiating with the Culinary Union. (Image: Las Vegas Sun)

Station Casinos is controlled by billionaires Frank III and Lorenzo Fertitta. The Las Vegas magnates have long opposed unions, and have managed to keep their nine casinos in Southern Nevada union-free. The Culinary Union claims Station Casinos has done so unlawfully.

Wedekind’s ruling this week concluded that RRR purposely interfered with labor organization efforts.

In a 138-page decision, the judge ordered Station to immediately cease and desist from having any interference with Culinary’s unionization efforts at RRR. The ruling additionally mandates that Station/RRR immediately recognize and bargain in good faith with the Culinary Union.

Red Rock Caught Red-Handed

Culinary Union officials were quick to celebrate Wedekind’s ruling. The decision is yet another blow to RRR’s ongoing efforts to keep its marquee Summerlin casino resort free of the powerful trade group.

Just like the Ninth Circuit and Judge Gloria Navarro, the administrative law judge also saw Station Casinos’ grant of benefits right before the election at Red Rock for what it was — a poorly disguised effort to discourage workers from unionizing. This is yet another victory for workers who stood up and organized to have a union and a union contract at Red Rock Casino,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union.

Prior to the union’s official vote in December of 2019 to determine if RRR workers supported becoming a Culinary-represented property, Station Casinos greatly increased benefits for most employees. While Culinary officials said snap polls before the official tally showed adequate support to unionize at around 60%, the formal vote came in at 627-534 against organizing.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) fielded numerous complaints from Red Rock Resort employees who backed unionizing and consolidated those grievances into a single complaint. The NLRB concluded that Station Casinos committed approximately 50 violations of the National Labor Relations Act both before and after the union petition and election.

Wedekind agreed that RRR/Station violated federal law. Along with the cease-and-desist order and instruction to begin union negotiations, the judge told the casino it must — within five days — post copies notifying all employees of the federal ruling and to hold meetings with employees (on working time) to read aloud pages 30-34 of the order within 14 days.

Casino Mulling Options

Station Casinos said it was disappointed with the Wedekind order and is considering its legal recourse.

We firmly and respectfully disagree with the result, which overturns the clear vote of the Red Rock team members in their rejection of the Culinary Union. The decision punishes Red Rock team members and the Red Rock property because Station Casinos treated its team members too well,” a company statement read.

Station added that the NLRB and the federal government are punishing an employer for treating its workers too well. The casino stated that Wedekind wrongly concluded that providing exceptional pay and benefits “undermines the union.”