One down, two to go
The Culinary Local 226 union has come to a tentative agreement with the Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas, allowing them to avoid a potential strike later this week. The union announced early Wednesday morning that it negotiated with Caesars for 20 consecutive hours to get the deal done.
It is labeled as “tentative” because the union members still need to approve the deal.
“In this landmark agreement, our nearly 10,000 UniteHere Team Members will see meaningful wage increases that align with our past performance, along with continued opportunities for growth tied to our future plans to bring more union jobs to the Las Vegas Strip,” Caesars Entertainment said in a statement Wednesday. “Through this agreement, Caesars Entertainment will ensure that as we grow, our Team Members grow with us. We are proud of our decades-long relationship with UniteHere and our shared commitment to the hospitality workers who are the heart and soul of Las Vegas.”
The union had set a strike deadline of 5:00am Friday. Assuming union members vote in favor of the five-year agreement, Caesars’ nine union-affiliated properties on the Las Vegas Strip will safe from a strike.
MGM was set to meet with the union on Wednesday, though we do not know any details of how things went. Wynn will meet with the union on Thursday.
Getting what they want
Culinary Local 226 had already negotiated with Caesars and the other casino companies for seven months. Its contracts were going to expire June 1, but they extended them into September to allow for continued negotiations. Those extensions have since ended and union members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike, if it needed to come to that.
The union was pushing for large wage increases, especially considering the success the casino industry has had since pandemic restrictions were lifted, protections from technology that could threaten jobs, and better work-life balance, among other things. Details of what the two sides agreed upon won’t be known until the deal is officially approved by union members.
A potential strike of tens of thousands of casino workers is especially threatening because next weekend marks the much hyped Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. The city has been preparing for months for the big event that will see the 3.8-mile track wind through Las Vegas and down the Strip. Grandstands have been built and trees have been cut down in order to get the course ready.
Local insiders recently reported that MGM is requiring its corporate employees step in and do the jobs of union workers if a strike does happen. The company could hire “strike busting” experts to try to pressure union workers. Corporate employees who refuse to cross their colleagues’ picket line could reportedly risk being fired by Christmas.