The Culinary Local 226, a union representing 53,000 hospitality workers across Las Vegas, is edging towards a potentially disruptive strike. The union recently called for a series of pickets at eight iconic casino resorts in the hopes of increasing pressure on the establishment owners and prompting negotiations on a new five-year contract.
With an active schedule of two-hour “informational” picket lines to commence at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, the action starts at Park MGM, Paris Las Vegas, and The Linq, spreading subsequently to sidewalks in front of Harrah’s, Flamingo, Horseshoe, Planet Hollywood, and New York-New York.
Rather than complete work stoppages, participating workers intend to join the picket lines either before or after their regular shifts. In a release from Local 226, it has been requested that the public support this call to action by refraining from patronizing any of these casino resorts while picket lines are active.
The Culinary Union last initiated a strike in 1984, an event that saw more than 17,000 union members walking off their jobs in a united effort with three other unions. Recalled by Local 226 as one of the most significant strikes in Las Vegas history, the assertive action persisted for 67 days.
Negotiations between Culinary Local 226 and the Strip’s three major employers — MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts — are currently underway. However, the limited progress achieved so far has been described as “very disappointing” by the union’s secretary-treasurer, Ted Pappageorge.
Although a definitive strike deadline remains unset, the unions reported last month that an overwhelming 95% of its restaurant and hotel workers authorized a strike in response to their contracts’ expiration. Reportedly, about 40,000 union members are currently operating under expired contracts and would be at the forefront if a strike were to be called.
The union’s recent press release proclaims, “There is now an active labor dispute with 18 casino properties across the Las Vegas Strip,” indicating a strike could be called at any time.
MGM and Caesars properties have been specifically targeted in this potential strike action, as the union is pressing for language adjustments in its contracts’ no-strike clauses that would enable them to strike against non-union restaurants on union properties. Notably, this matter isn’t an issue at Wynn Resorts.
Among other key proposals tabled during this dispute are considerable wage and benefit boosts, enhanced safety and technology language, and a reduced workload for guest room attendants.