Published Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 | 3:05 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 | 4:45 p.m.
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The Culinary Union issued a statement Thursday critical of Station Casinos Inc. and called on creditors in its bankruptcy case to demand that Station insiders make a significant equity investment in the company.
The Culinary, which doesn't represent Station workers, charged that the company could have avoided bankruptcy earlier this year "if not for the substantial debt it took on largely to enrich a small group of company insiders.''
The union charged "this debt enabled insiders to extract over $1 billion from the company in recent years and that these insiders, not the global recession, drove the company into bankruptcy.''
Station Casinos responded to the report, saying the Culinary Union's statement is "the same corporate harassment by the Culinary Union leadership that has been going on for years due to their frustration over not being able to persuade our employees to join the union.
"You would think that in these difficult economic times, when thousands of union members have lost their jobs, that the Culinary Union leadership would have something more productive to do with their members' due than to create and distribute this silly report concerning a bankruptcy proceeding in which they have absolutely no involvement," Station said in a statement.
In its bankruptcy case, the Las Vegas company has said the 2007 buyout deal was not successful due to the recession -- not the terms of the $5.7 billion transaction in which Station was taken private by members of the Fertitta family and investment company Colony Capital of Los Angeles.
The union for years has been interested in organizing Station workers and, with its bankruptcy, appears to be pursuing a strategy of putting the company on the defensive by highlighting its financial situation.
"Station Casinos is a uniquely Las Vegas company that owes it success to Las Vegas locals like our members," D. Taylor, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 secretary-treasurer, said in a statement. "The company has a special obligation to our community. Its owner-managers have a responsibility not just to their Wall Street lenders and investors, but to their employees, customers, suppliers and vendors right here in this community.
"The livelihoods of a lot of people and their families are closely tied to this company’s financial well-being. Clearly, the owner-managers and other insiders were more interested in extracting wealth from the company for themselves than ensuring its and its employees’ future. Now it’s time for them to give back," the statement said.