Representation Image Las Vegas Strip Sign Northern_Punkie/ Pixabay

Thousands of hospitality workers packed the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas this week, voting in favor of a citywide strike against major resorts on the strip. The strike was approved by 95 percent.

Voters were members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, which collectively represent 60,000 workers across Nevada, 53,000 workers being based in Las Vegas making them eligible to vote.

Although the Culinary Union can call for a strike at any date or time, it has not set a deadline in hopes of negotiating with the major resorts. According to a statement by the Culinary workers union, as of September 15, 2023, 40,000 workers employed at 22 casino resorts are working under an expired contract and are at risk of a major job dispute.

"Today, Culinary and Bartenders Union members have sent the strongest message possible to the casino industry to settle a fair contract as soon as possible. We have negotiations scheduled next week with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts and it's up the three largest employers in Las Vegas to step up and do the right thing," said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union in a statement.

According to the New York Times, in a statement, MGM Resorts said it was optimistic the two sides could come to an agreement.

"We continue to have productive meetings with the union and believe both parties are committed to negotiating a contract that is good for everyone," said the company.

Wynn Resorts and Caesars Entertainment declined to comment on the vote. Negotiations continue next week between the union and the companies.

The Culinary Union is Nevada's largest Latino/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. They have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through their affiliate, The Citizenship Project. Approximately 54% of Culinary Union members are Latino.

"I voted yes to authorize a strike because I'm fighting for my family and for our future," said Maria Sanchez, a guest room attendant at the Bellagio and Culinary Union member for 3 years. "The workload since the pandemic has been intense and when I get home I'm so tired and I don't have energy to take my two kids to the park or play with them. I feel sad like I'm just living to work and it's not right. I was thinking about getting a second job, but I'm already doing more than one job at work right now and I believe that one job should be enough! I voted yes to win the best contract ever so that I can work one job and come home to spend time with my children."

Since April, The Culinary Bartenders Unions have been in negotiations with the 3 largest resorts for higher wage and benefit increases, strengthening on the job security measures, workload reductions, technology protections, and extend recall rights so that workers have more ability to return to their jobs in the event of another pandemic or economic crisis.

With conventions such as TwitchCon in October and Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, the super bowl just around the corner, negotiations remain tentative. Similarly, there was a strike authorization vote in 2018 among 25,000 workers but a contract agreement was reached before any strike occurred.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.