Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

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CityCenter workers still off the job; more talks this afternoon

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Construction workers picket in front of MGM Mirage's CityCenter Tuesday afternoon in protest of safety conditions for the $9.2 billion project. The strike, which started late Monday night in reaction to the deaths of 11 workers on Strip projects over the last year and a half, ended when union leaders and contractor Perini Building Co. reached an agreement on improved safety conditions.

Thousands of construction workers who walked off the CityCenter and Cosmopolitan construction sites at midnight to demonstrate their concerns over safety issues remain off the job.

A 9 a.m. meeting between the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council and Perini Building Company to discuss workers' demands ended up being simply a phone call between the two sides with nothing resolved.

But Steve Ross, secretary treasurer of the umbrella labor organization, said that a face-to-face meeting with Perini officials is expected later today. Company executives from out of town are flying in to Las Vegas to participate in the talks.

The construction workers are demanding that Perini, which is the general contractor on CityCenter and the adjacent Cosmopolitian, take three steps to address safety concerns: They want the company to pay for additional safety training for workers, to allow national union researchers to examine root causes of safety problems on the site, and to allow union leaders full access to the work sites.

Attention to worker safety at CityCenter and elsewhere along the Strip is growing after a series of Sun investigative stories that found lax oversight by Nevada OSHA and, until now, disinterest among the labor unions in meeting with state safety officials and contractors to determine how safety lapses lead to construction fatalities.

As workers walked picket lines this morning, passing motorists honked their horns in apparent support. State Sen. Dina Titus, a Democrat who is running against Rep. Jon Porter, joined the picket lines late morning. Later, state Senate minority leader Steven Horsford briefly joined the picket line.

Ross sounded upbeat at an 11 a.m. press conference, held on a center median of the Strip across from CityCenter. He said there was no particular sticking point with Perini officials during their telephone conference call and that he expected some resolution later today.

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