The Las Vegas Culinary Union continues to have roughly 2,000 members working at three casino resorts without active employment contracts.
Contracts expired at 34 Las Vegas casinos on June 1, a deadline that threatened to wreak havoc on the city’s gaming industry should the union have directed a strike. But MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, which accounted for 18 of the properties in question, came to new five-year terms with the powerful organization just days after the cutoff.
The union has since reached contracts with 13 additional casinos, but the Strip’s Treasure Island and downtown’s Golden Gate and The D resorts remain under negotiation.
The Culinary Union represents cooks and kitchen employees, bartenders, waitstaff, bellmen, porters, and housekeepers. The union says it has some 50,000 members in Las Vegas.
Ahead of the June 1 contract expirations, the Culinary Union said it wanted a four percent wage and benefits increase. With all benefits included, union members on average were paid $23 per hour under the previous terms.
Union officials additionally sought better workplace protections to combat sexual harassment. A survey found that 59 percent of the group’s cocktail servers and 27 percent of housekeepers said they had been sexually harassed while on the job.
Finally, the union wanted guarantees from casino executives that they would reject technological innovations that lead to reduced jobs.
The union hasn’t publicly stated the terms that it’s reached with the various casinos, saying only, “We always have one standard for our contracts, and we are going to negotiate that one standard with other properties.”
The most recent to come to union terms is the Margaritaville casino at the Flamingo.
The Culinary Union has planned a march in downtown Las Vegas for Thursday, September 27th at 5 pm PST. Members will walk down Fremont Street from the Golden Gate to The D to raise awareness that the two casinos remain free of an active union contract.
The D Targeted
The D has been heavily criticized by the union for allegedly failing to curb sexual misconduct by not just guests, but also employees. A former dancing bartender told the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) earlier this month that she was harassed by a manager for nearly a year.
The female employee recounted being touched inappropriately by a male superior who rubbed her shoulders and hair, and grabbed her lower waist. She said after alerting other management and The D human resources, she was accused of perhaps eliciting the harassment. She was later suspended twice for undisclosed reasons before being terminated.
In response, the NGCB recommended to the Nevada Gaming Commission that casinos be required to use a 16-point checklist to make sure their policies to prevent sexual harassment are sufficient. If enacted, licensees would be required to distribute to employees an easy-to-understand description of examples of prohibited conduct. Casinos would also need to implement a reporting system for those who believe they’ve experienced or observed sexual misconduct.
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