Las Vegas casino workers vote for strike

Las Vegas casinos could watch tens of thousands of employees walk off the job for initially in more than three decades after union members voted Tuesday to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1, a move which could cripple the city’s world-famous resorts.

About 25,000 members of the Culinary Union who work at 34 different casino-resorts across the tourist destination cast ballots in two sessions, showing the collective power of the largest labor organization in Nevada. The move hands union negotiators a huge bargaining chip as they work to solidify brand new several-year contracts.

The union last voted for a strike in 2002 however reached a deal before employees walked out. The last strike, in 1984, spanned 67 days in addition to cost the city in addition to workers tens of millions of dollars.

The latest strike would likely mean losing workers with roles critical to doing a casino-hotel run: bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail in addition to food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks in addition to additional kitchen workers. which would likely affect properties including Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Stratosphere, The D in addition to El Cortez.

which also could cause problems for fans heading to the city to watch the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team play inside the Stanley Cup Final in early June, a rare feat for a team in its first year.

“I’m here to show the younger generations which This specific is usually the way we fight to maintain our jobs, job security, health benefits in addition to to gain a pay raise,” Lewis Thomas, a utility porter at the Tropicana casino-hotel, said. “This specific will be a wake-up call to let (the companies) know we are together, we are united, we are not separated.”

The contracts of 50,000 unionized workers are set to expire at midnight May 31, in addition to negotiations with individual casino-operating companies have not led to agreements for brand new terms.

Union officials have said they want to enhance wages, protect job security against the increasing use of technology at hotel-casinos, in addition to strengthen language against sexual harassment.

“We’ve been in negotiations with the companies, in addition to they are not giving the workers what they deserve according to the economy right right now,” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, union secretary-treasurer, said after the first voting session. “They are very successful. They have a lot of money.”

MGM Resorts International in addition to Caesars Entertainment operate more than half the properties which would likely be affected by a strike.

In a statement to CNBC, MGM Resorts said: ” MGM Resorts in addition to the Culinary in addition to Bartenders Unions continue to meet in addition to have scheduled main table negotiating sessions on days following the strike vote. As we continue to bargain in not bad faith, we are confident which we’ll resolve contract issues in addition to negotiate a contract which works for everyone.”

Las Vegas Sands said, in its response to CNBC: “We have zero employees represented by the culinary union thus no comment.”

Caesars did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Union members enthusiastically gathered Tuesday at the Thomas in addition to Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They high-fived, took selfies in addition to carried signs urging people to vote.

Banners outside said, “Show up or give up, security strike vote” amid pro-union chants in English in addition to Spanish. Some workers chanted, “Hey, Caesars, look around, Vegas is usually a union town” in addition to “No contract, no peace.”

Some employees stopped by in their casino-resort uniforms on their way to or through work, while others donned shirts emblazoned with “Vegas Strong” in addition to the union logo.

Inside, union organizers verified people were eligible to vote, in addition to workers dropped their paper ballots in numbered boxes.

When casino workers across Las Vegas went on a strike in 1984, union members lost an estimated $75 million in wages in addition to benefits in addition to the city lost a similar amount in tourism revenue. Millions more were lost in gambling income.

Don Leadbeter, a bellman at the MGM Grand, has worked at Las Vegas casino-hotels for more than four decades in addition to participated in previous strike votes. He said workers This specific time want to protect their job security in addition to ensure which employers provide training as they adopt more workplace technology.

He said bartenders are already using automated systems which could potentially eliminate their jobs, in addition to guests are right now able to check in in addition to out of resorts without interacting with front-desk personnel, putting those jobs at risk, too.

“I want the companies to open up their eyes in addition to think what’s going to happen if we go on a strike,” Leadbeter said. “which’s a lot of business which’s going to go down.”

— CNBC’S Jeff Daniels contributed reporting to This specific article.

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