Station Casinos Ordered to Bargain with Palms Workers as Company Appeals NLRB Ruling

Posted on: May 23, 2019, 07:02h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2019, 08:15h.

The running dispute between Station Casinos and the Culinary Workers Union (CWU) continues as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has again ordered the company to bargain with gaming venue employees — this time at the Palms Casino Resort.

Station Casinos Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta is facing an NLRB order to negotiate with the Culinary Workers Union, which represents employees at the Palms in Las Vegas. (Image: MMA Fighting)

Earlier this month, the federal panel found that Station Casinos refused to recognize and bargain with the union representing workers at the Las Vegas venue. The NLRB also concluded the company “engaged in unfair labor practices.”

There is no reason the company should not follow appropriate labor laws, the NLRB argues. In its May 13 decision, the NLRB said management did not provide relevant new evidence or present new circumstances that would be grounds for re-examination of the dispute.

Union Wants Stations to Bargain in ‘Good Faith’

We demand that Station Casinos recognize their workers’ voices and votes at the Palms and begin contract negotiations in good faith immediately,” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer at the Culinary Union, said in a statement released on Wednesday.

In April 2018, 614 workers voted for union representation at the Palms — and some 84 percent voted in favor of the CWU as their union. The results were certified by the NLRB.

Approximately 900 Palms’ workers are represented by either the CWU Local 226 or the Bartenders Union Local 165. These are both affiliated with the Unite Here national union.

“But instead of recognizing that result, Station Casinos has tried to overturn the election through a series of unsuccessful and lengthy legal challenges. The May 13, 2019 ruling by the NLRB is the latest legal setback for Station Casinos, which has lost at every round, and yet the company says it will continue to fight the Culinary and Bartenders Unions’ election victory in the courts,” according to a recent union statement.

Since 2016, Red Rock Resorts has been the parent company of Station Casinos. The company has submitted an appeal of the latest NLRB ruling — which seeks to set aside the May 13 decision and order.

The case will be heard by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Red Rock does not comment on pending litigation.

CWU Plans Picketing

In March, the CWU threatened to picket the office of a political action committee (PAC) — one that’s supportive of President Donald Trump and that’s received generous donations from Palms and Station Casinos owners, brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.

The Fertitta brothers have donated $2 million to America First Action Inc. Super PAC, based in Arlington, Virginia, as well as money to other Republican causes. Picketing is also planned for restaurants at the Palms.

Culinary Local 226 plans to picket businesses too, including those affiliated with Fertitta Capital. The union says it wants the ancillary businesses to put pressure on the Fertittas to negotiate with the CWU.

Since 2016, workers at three other Station Casinos venues in the Las Vegas region have approved union representation. These include: Boulder Station, Palace Station and Green Valley Ranch.

Last November, the NLRB ordered Station Casinos to begin bargaining with the CWU regarding workers at Green Valley Ranch. The CWU represents some 890 employees, there.

Currently, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 represent some 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno. Members of the Culinary Union include guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers.

Strike Is Always on Option

Last May, the Culinary Union voted by a 99 percent member vote to authorize a strike — but contracts were reached with Las Vegas venues, narrowly averting the work action.

The Las Vegas economy could come to a crippling halt if the union goes on strike. It would impact 34 properties on the Strip or at downtown properties.