Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2021

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Teamsters to vote on contract

GES Exposition Services Inc. and Freeman Decorating have presented a new labor contract proposal to the Teamsters & Truck Drivers Local 631, which have been on strike since Saturday night.

"Negotiations resumed yesterday with all parties involved showing a concerted effort by working through the night to reach this tentative agreement and move toward resolution of the current situation," GES and Freeman said in a statement today. The companies did not disclose the terms of the proposal.

Teamsters Local 631 were scheduled to vote on the three-year proposal today, but had not completed their vote by press time. The contract would affect about 3,200 convention workers who assist with setting and up and tearing down exhibits.

Union officials could not be reached for comment.

On Thursday, District Judge Stewart Bell issued a temporary restraining order against the Teamsters that prevents the group from "picketing the entrances and exits to GES places of business" when it "delays, impedes or interferes with the ability of persons or vehicles to enter or leave through those entrances and exits," according to court documents.

The Teamsters members have been working under the terms of their old contract since June, which is when the old contract expired.

The Teamsters went on strike after rejecting two contract proposals that did not meet its demands for increased health care compensation and increased wages. GES and Freeman Decorating presented one of the two contracts, which would have provided an hourly raise of 90 cents in the first year and 80 cents in the two subsequent years.

The union has been picketing at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo & Convention Center and at various company locations around the valley.

GES, Freeman and independent contractors have had to bring in non-union workers from other cities this week to carry out conferences such as the VISION Expo at the Sands.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by GES said the union is allegedly "engaging in acts of dangerous vandalism by cutting brake lines on GES's trailers and pulling air hoses from trucks."

Bell's order affects GES headquarters and the following convention sites: Las Vegas Convention Center, Cashman Center, Thomas & Mack Center, Sands Expo, Riviera Hotel and Casino, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, Las Vegas Hilton, Mandalay Bay resort-casino, Caesars Palace, Bellagio and The Rio hotel and casino and The Venetian.

The lawsuit alleges that union members were carrying guns, making threats and vandalizing property.

Union picketers also allegedly spit on and intimidated GES employees and threw sharpened nails in front of vehicles at GES work sites, according to the lawsuit.

The judge ordered a hearing for Sept. 24 at which point he will decide whether to replace the temporary restraining order with a preliminary injunction.