Thursday, Nov. 13, 1997 | 11:09 a.m.
Hundreds of union members marched on the Stardust hotel-casino Wednesday night to show their support for eight hotel carpenters on the eve of a stockholders meeting.
Union officials say the carpenters and painters have not had a raise in 11 years. They currently earn $15.01 an hour, a wage based on an expired contract first negotiated in 1986.
"They are the cheapest paid carpenters on the Strip," said Dan O'Shea, president of Carpenters Local 1780. "The last time they had a raise was when Ronald Reagan was president."
Hotel management declined to comment on the picketers who attended the rally in front of the hotel owned by Boyd Gaming.
Marc Furman, administrative assistant of the Nevada carpenters union, said Wednesday's demonstration will be followed Thursday by union members passing out handbills.
The handbills declare that in the past four years Boyd Gaming's stock value has decreased more than 66 percent while at the same time top management people continue to draw big salaries and receive large raises each year.
John Fletcher, a carpenter who has worked at the hotel for more than eight years, said the contract expired more than 10 years ago and the company has refused to negotiate in good faith.
One employee said management told them to accept the salary or quit.
Carpentry foreman Bill Harris has been at the hotel more than 17 years.
"They're negotiating as slowly as possible," he said. "Their attorney calls for a session quarterly."
Union officials say every non-union employee of the hotel has been given raises during the same period.
"If we had decertified the union, we would have gotten raises," said Harris. "But we are loyal to the union."
One union official noted the company kept the union in court for three years over the name of the organization.
"They wouldn't negotiate because of a change in the name of the union, but they look for any excuse to stall."
Wednesday was the third rally to show support for the eight workers.
The next negotiation session is scheduled for Nov. 25.
It was announced at the rally that there will be pickets at the Stardust every Friday night if that's what it takes to get a new contract.
Earlier this year the National Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint against the Stardust and the Boyd group for refusal to bargain in good faith.