Station Casinos Accused of Not Abiding by Court Order in Unfair Labor Practices Case

Posted on: November 4, 2021, 12:51h. 

Last updated on: November 4, 2021, 01:32h.

Station Casinos stands accused of failing to adhere to a federal court’s order. The complaint is in relation to the casino company’s ongoing unfair labor practices lawsuit brought against the company by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Station Casinos Red Rock Resort NLRB union lawsuit
Station Casinos says its Red Rock casino workers, one such table game dealer seen here in June of 2020, do not want to be part of a union. But the National Labor Relations Board isn’t convinced that the company hasn’t prevented its workers from their federal right to organize. (Image: KLAS)

In filings made with Nevada’s US District Court, the NLRB contends that Station Casinos has refused to provide court-mandated documents. In August, US District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ordered Station Casinos to begin negotiating with the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 in anticipation of the potential unionization of the company’s Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

The Culinary Union, the largest casino union in Las Vegas, claims that Station Casinos in 2019 interfered with unionizing efforts at Red Rock, located 10 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. NP Red Rock LLC, the operating entity of the resort that’s owned by Station Casinos, has rejected such claims.

Station and NP Red Rock are appealing Navarro’s order. The case is pending in the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

NLRB Levies Allegations

Station Casinos and Red Rock Casino are accused of increasing benefits for their workers ahead of a planned unionization vote two years ago. NLRB Regional Director Cornele Overstreet has testified that internal communications among Red Rock executives demonstrate that the salary and benefits improvements were formulated to undermine the union’s organizing efforts.

Shortly before the planned vote, Red Rock announced free health care for its employees making less than $41,600 annually — or $20 per hour. In addition, all of the resort’s more than 1,000 workers saw their HMO deductibles eliminated, and the company’s 401(k) program was improved to better compensate staff members.

As Station appeals the order to negotiate in good faith with the Culinary Union, Overstreet has mandated that the casino company turn over relevant documents regarding its compensation decisions to the NLRB for review. The labor agency says the casino hasn’t complied.

The failure of Respondents to produce the documents constitute contumacious conduct … which is impeding the Board’s proceedings in matters before it and has prevented the Board from carrying out its duties and functions,” the NLRB court filing states.

“There is reasonable cause for this Court to believe that Respondents are deliberately evading their duty to produce the documents pursuant to the Subpoenas served upon them,” the NLRB concluded.

Station Defense

An attorney for Station Casinos says the company improving benefits for its workers should be welcomed by the Culinary Union, not criticized. Joel Rice, a Chicago-based labor lawyer who defends employers, says Station and Red Rock had been discussing amending their employee benefits plans “weeks and even months” before the Culinary Union began its unionization efforts.

Rice argues that Red Rock and its employees — not Red Rock and the Culinary Union and NLRB — should determine mutually agreed-upon compensation contracts. A court has no place in the discussion, Rice contends, otherwise “It replaces employee choice at the ballot box with judicial fiat.”

Red Rock employees rejected the Culinary Union during the 2019 vote. Rice says a second union election could remedy the issue, as that is how many unfair union labor cases are typically settled.

No timetable is set for when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals might weigh in. The legal dispute is only the latest in Station Casinos’ long opposition to allowing the Culinary Union to unionize its Nevada properties.