Strike Averted! Las Vegas Culinary Union Reaches Historic Deal With Strip Resorts to Avoid Strike
Photo Credit: Culinary Workers Union Local 226
The Culinary and Bartenders Union, a Nevada affiliate of the UNITE HERE labor union representing 53,000 hotel and resort workers in the Las Vegas and Reno gaming, hotel and food service industries, announced that it has reached tentative agreements with Caesars International, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts to avoid a historic hospitality strike in Las Vegas.
The agreements come just days after the Culinary Union set a strike deadline with the resorts, threatening to have workers walk out and form picket lines if there were no new contracts before November 10. If a strike did occur, it would have been the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S history, with 35,000 hospitality workers walking out of over 18 hotels and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
Just hours before the strike deadline, all three companies with hotels on the Vegas Strip have offered deals to the union, helping to avoid a strike. The union has said that given the tentative agreement from Caesars, MGM and Wynn, members will not strike those properties on the November 10 deadline.
Although the actual contracts have not been released, the Culinary Union said in a statement that the contracts include the largest wage increase ever negotiated in the union’s 88-year history, workload reductions for guest room attendants, mandated daily room cleaning, increased safety protections for workers, expanded technology contract language, extended recall rights and the right for unionized workers to support non-union restaurant workers seeking to unionize. The contracts will last five years and are the result of over seven months of negotiations from the union.
“After seven months of negotiations, we are proud to say that this is the best contract and economic package we have ever won for in our 88-year history,” Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union said in a press release. “Workers have secured significant raises every year for the next five years, preserved our great union health insurance, union pension and comprehensive union benefits, while gaining historic improvements in housekeeping workload reductions, substantial improvements for workers regarding safety at work, the ability to have a say in how technology impacts our work, and ensuring the union and members can support non-union hospitality workers who seek to join our union.”
The new contracts cover nearly all of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, including the MGM Resorts properties of Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Park MGM; nine Caesars International properties including Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell and The Linq and Wynn Resorts.
“Our employees are the heart of our company and the driving force in the success we’ve enjoyed in Las Vegas post-pandemic,” MGM Resorts International CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement. “We’re pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that averts a strike, gives our Culinary Union employees a well-earned boost to pay and benefits and reduces workloads--all while continuing to provide opportunities for growth and advancement.”
The contract still needs to be voted on and ratified by the members of the Culinary Union, but union leadership has said that they are extremely confident that the members will accept the contracts from the three hotel comapnies in the coming days.
“This contract is the best contract ever!” Margaret Jaramillo, a food server at MGM Grand said. “My co-workers and I worked so hard for months in negotiations to win the highest wage increases we’ve ever had. I’m proud that we won a great contract because it protects us, our pension, our raises, our safety and everything else that is important. We made our voice heard and I’m especially proud of the technology language that we expanded to further protect our jobs.”
Read this next: How the Las Vegas Hospitality Community Gives Back