Las Vegas Sun

December 11, 2018

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Union: Strike would cost casinos over $300 million in first month

Union Strike Vote

Steve Marcus

Members of the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, applaud during a presentation before voting on whether to authorize a strike Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Las Vegas. A potential strike would affect 34 casino-hotels.

Updated Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 12:41 p.m.

A threatened strike by 50,000 members of the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas starting Friday would cost 34 casinos on the Strip and downtown more than $300 million in its first month, union representatives estimated today.

Union analyst Ken Liu said Caesars Entertainment’s earnings would be slashed by $115 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, while MGM Resorts International would lose $200 million.

The two companies own most of the resorts on the Strip and employ nearly 40,000 union workers, primarily cocktail servers, bartenders, housekeepers, food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and other kitchen workers.

About 20 percent of the union workers are employed by Penn National Gaming, Golden Entertainment and Boyd Gaming.

Their contracts expire Friday.

Nearly half of the membership participated in balloting earlier this month to authorize union leadership to call for a strike, voting 99 percent in favor.

Under their current contract, workers received annual raises, which include salary and benefits, of 2.2 percent, Culinary Workers Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said.

Under a proposed new five-year contract, the union is seeking annual raises of 4 percent and added protections for workers, including a panic button for housekeepers to alert authorities if they are under duress.

MGM spokeswoman Mary Hynes and Caesars spokesman Rich Broome said today they were confident casino operators would reach a mutually beneficial deal with the union and avert a strike.

The last time Culinary Workers Union members staged a citywide work stoppage was in 1984, when 15,000 workers went on a 67-day strike. Individual properties have also had work stoppages, most notably a more than six-year strike in the 1990s at the Frontier.