For the first time in over three decades, union members have voted to authorise strike action any time from 1 June 2018. Las Vegas casinos and resorts would be crippled if the impending strike were to take place. The Culinary Union last voted for a strike during 2002, however a deal had just been negotiated before casino workers walked out. You’d have to go back as far as 1984 to the last strike that took place which shook the gambling city of Las Vegas. The mass strike action of 1984 lasted 67 days, costing the city and employees more than tens of millions of dollars. One can only begin to imagine how much the city stands to lose if a similar situation were to follow.
Why the Union is Calling for Mass Strike Action
At the heart of the reasons for the vote in favour to strike is the fact that the contracts of 50,000 union employees are set to expire on 31 May 2018. This led to 25,000 employees belonging to the Culinary Union to cast ballots during two voting sessions on Tuesday, 22 May. The vote in favour to strike shows the great collective power of the largest labour organisation in Nevada. The result also hands union negotiators the upper hand at solidifying new five-year contracts.
Ongoing negotiations has seen no agreements being made yet on renewing these contracts. This leaves a huge chunk of employees feeling unsecure about still having a job by the end of the month. One union employee expressed his views on the situation saying that he wants to show the younger generation how they fought to keep their jobs, job security, health benefits and wage increases.
The Culinary Union in charge of protecting casino employees have said that they want casino-operating companies to increase wages and ensure job security against advancing technology at hotel-casinos. They also want procedures to be strengthened which address sexual harassment in the workplace.
How a Mass Strike Will Affect Gambling in Las Vegas
The union represents 25,000 employees who are spread across 34 different casino establishments on the Las Vegas Strip. While a wide range of staff will be involved in the strike, croupiers and poker dealers will not be included. However, other critical work areas within the gambling city will be affected by the strike. These include the following staff members:
- Cocktail and food servers
- Cooks and kitchen workers
Some of the biggest establishments on the strip that are set to be affected include the likes of Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, The D and El Cortez, and Stratosphere. Vegas Golden Knights hockey fans heading towards Las Vegas for the Stanley Cup final may very well be disappointed too, especially with this rare achievement for a team playing in its first year. With the strike set to start around the same time that the final will be played, this could cause some problems. With so much at stake to lose, operating-casino houses will hope that a repeat of the 2002 negotiations can take place and a deal can be agreed upon in the eleventh hour.