Red Rock Rejection: Casino Staffers Rebuff Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Posted on: December 22, 2019, 02:45h. 

Last updated on: December 23, 2019, 04:35h.

Employees at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas voted against joining the Culinary Workers Union (CWU) Local 226, one of the most powerful organized labor groups representing staffers at Sin City gaming properties.

Workers at Red Rock Resort said “no” to joining the Culinary Workers Union Local 226. (Image: Fodors Travel Guide)

In a secret ballot election observed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the past several days, 84 percent of Red Rock workers participated in the vote.

Station Casinos Team Members by a wide margin of 9 percent, 54 percent (627) over 45 percent (534), have rejected unionization,” according to a corporate statement.

Red Rock Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:RRR) is the parent company of Station Casinos, which operates the aforementioned gaming property, among other venues.

Long Tussle

Station Casinos moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, the largest Red Rock shareholders, have drawn the ire of several Democrats seeking that party’s 2020 presidential nomination for allegedly using harsh tactics to prevent workers from organizing at the Palms, another one of their Sin City properties.

During an October visit to Nevada, former Vice President and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden pushed Station Casinos to negotiate with workers at seven properties that voted in 2016 to organize with CWU 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165.

Since that vote, union contracts have only been ratified at Palace Station and Boulder Station, while the company is challenging votes at Palms, Sunset Station, Green Valley Ranch, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson.

In August, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), another top tier Democratic hopeful, bashed the Fertittas as “billionaire, Trump-supporting [Palms Casino] owners” and accused them of flouting labor laws by not negotiating with workers.

Sanders made those remarks on Twitter about a month after Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Obama, pressed Station Casinos “to negotiate in good faith with your workers who have already voted to unionize.”

Bad Blood Lingers

Predictably, management was happy with the outcome of the recent vote, while CWU Local 226 wasn’t.

“Our great Team Members have spoken, and we thank them for their support. We believe there is no better place to work in Las Vegas, and these election results validate that belief,” said Red Rock Vice President Scott Nelson in a statement.

CWU Local 226 alleges the election was interfered with because Red Rock recently announced increased contributions to workers’ retirement plans, while eliminating premiums and deductibles on staffers’ health insurance.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has repeatedly condemned these types of ploys as interfering with the conditions necessary for a fair election,” said CWU Local 226 in a statement. “We are confident that the NLRB will find the company’s schemes illegal and order Red Rock Casino to recognize the union and bargain a contract.”

CWU Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including most of the union workers on the Strip and downtown.