Sunset Station Hotel & Casino Employees to Unionize as Station Casinos Challenges Earlier Worker Votes

Posted on: June 14, 2019, 07:11h. 

Last updated on: June 15, 2019, 06:25h.

UPDATE: Workers at Fiesta Rancho Hotel & Casino, owned by Station Casinos, also voted to unionize. A total of 147 workers voted on Friday and 85 percent backed the union. Approximately 200 employees will be represented by the Culinary Workers Union.

Hundreds of workers at Sunset Station Hotel & Casino followed the path of four other venues owned by Station Casinos and on Thursday approved affiliating with a union.

Workers at Nevada’s Sunset Station Hotel & Casino voted to unionize through the Culinary Workers Union. (Image: Culinary Workers Union)

During the one-day vote, 437 Sunset Station workers took part. Some 83 percent of them backed the union.

As a result, approximately 600 workers at the Henderson, Nevada property will be represented by the Culinary Workers Union (CWU) Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165. They are affiliated with the national Unite Here union.

Since 2016, four other Station Casinos Nevada venues also became unionized through a CWU initiative. They include: the Palms Casino Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station Hotel & Casino, and Boulder Station Hotel Casino. reached out to Station Casinos management for comment. Officials did not provide an immediate response.

In a statement released by the union, Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the CWU said, “We call on Station Casinos to immediately … negotiate and settle a fair contract for the workers.”

Over two years, Station Casinos has legally challenged worker elections through lengthy processes. Last month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Palms Casino Resort has refused to recognize and bargain with the union.

The NLRB also concluded the company “engaged in unfair labor practices.” There is no reason the company should not follow labor laws, the NLRB argues in its May 13 decision.

The company has submitted an appeal of the NLRB ruling. It seeks to set aside last month’s decision and order.

The case will be heard by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Like other appeals filed by the company, the process can be a lengthy one.

Station Casinos and parent company — Red Rock Resorts — are owned in part by brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. To get owners of the Palms to the negotiation table, the CWU has 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 the Fertittas.

The Fertitta brothers have donated $2 million to America First Action Inc. Super PAC, based in Arlington, Virginia. They have contributed money to other Republican causes, too.

Law Requires Bargaining in Good Faith

As the process unfolds, Ruben Garcia, co-director of the Workplace Law Program at UNLV’s law school, told both the CWU and management need to abide by relevant labor laws. Both sides need to negotiate, he adds.

“The law requires bargaining in good faith,” Garcia explained. “The line of course is very thin.”

The CWU has been successful with winning union votes by two-thirds or three-quarters margins, Garcia said.

It appears they can continue to win elections,” Garcia added about the CWU. “It seems the union has continued to maintain strong support.”

On the other hand, he points out that “the company so far has refused to bargain at any of these properties.”

Instead, it has been challenging both elections and rulings that support the unionization effort. “It’s just a matter of time before the company begins to bargain with the union once these challenges run their course,” Garcia predicted.

Possible Contract Could Prevent Strike

Once a contract is reached, it may include a provision to prevent a strike by workers. Otherwise, such a job action could cripple the Las Vegas economy.

The CWU Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 represent some 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in downtown Las Vegas. Nationally, Unite Here represents 300,000 workers.