Las Vegas Casino Workers to Hold Strike Vote on May 22 over Improved Contract Terms

The Las Vegas UNITE HERE Culinary and Bartenders Unions announced Wednesday that they will hold a strike vote on May 22, allowing their members to cast votes on whether they should go out on strike if they fail to negotiate better working conditions with their employers.

The contracts of about 50,000 union members are set to expire on June 1, 2018. They are all working at 34 Downtown Las Vegas and Strip casino resorts. Most of these properties are operated by gaming and hospitality giants Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts International. Other companies that will be affected by a potential strike include Boyd Gaming, Golden Entertainment, and Penn National.

Union officials and executives of the above-mentioned operators have been negotiating the terms of new contracts since February. However, it seems that there are still too many issues to be ironed out before any new contracts are drafted.

The May 22 strike vote will take place in two sessions, one starting at 10 am and the other at 6 pm. Union members will be able to cast their vote at the Thomas & Mack Center of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

According to a press release from Wednesday, the strike vote will include bartenders, cocktail servers, cooks, kitchen workers, food servers, bellmen, porters, and guest room attendants at 34 Las Vegas casino resorts.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Las Vegas Culinary Union, explained that the strike vote aims to show employers that workers will not compromise with their security and that they should not be left behind as casino resort operators are anticipated to be swimming in cash due to the massive cut in corporate tax rate.

Language against Sexual Harassment

If the May 22 strike vote gets a majority of ‘yes’ votes, union officials will be authorized to call a strike. The city’s hospitality industry will suffer a massive blow, if a strike takes place as it will empty 34 of is premium casino resorts.

Ms. Argüello-Kline has previously told news outlets that the workers unions were trying to negotiate contract terms that would protect employees’ existing benefits, increase their wages, and prevent layoffs due to the widespread adoption of technology at resorts. In addition, the labor unions have been asking for the introduction of a language that would address sexual harassment cases in a proper manner.

One of the contract proposals made by casino workers asked that every housekeeper employed at a Las Vegas resort be provided with a ‘panic button’ that would alert managers if their employees are in a dangerous situation.

Both MGM and Caesars have said that they would discuss further the matter with union officials to equip their workers with the panic devices.

In recent separate statements, both companies have said that there have been ongoing negotiations and that they are optimistic settlements could be achieved before the current contracts expire. The contracts of around 50,000 Las Vegas casino resort workers are set to expire at midnight May 31. They are seeking to have these extended for another five years but with improved terms and guarantees for security.

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