Las Vegas casinos' Culinary Workers union threatens possible F1-impacting strike

las vegas culinary workers union
Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: November 03, 2023 08:05 PDT

Las Vegas's Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has threatened a strike against three large casino corporations beginning November 10, 2023, that could impact casino operations during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix set for November 16-18.

The culinary union has failed to reach agreements with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts, despite seven months of negotiations that began in April. The union represents 53,000 workers in Las Vegas, 35,000 of whom would be impacted by a strike against the three casino companies. The union seeks a new five-year deal and overwhelmingly voted to walk out in a recent vote.

The union represents housekeepers, bartenders, kitchen workers, cocktail and food servers, porters, and many other categories of workers, and it is the largest union in Nevada. Workers have already begun pickets and protests, including a civil-disobediance sitdown on the Vegas Strip on October 25 where 75 union members were arrested.

“A month ago, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike and we have continued negotiating in good faith, but unfortunately companies haven’t made enough movement in negotiations. Their current proposal on the table is historic, but it’s not enough and workers deserve to have record contracts - especially after these giant corporations are enjoying their record profits,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We have been preparing for months for a strike and amassing everything we need to maintain a 24/7 strike line at every casino."

The union's statement announcing the threatened November 10 strike date also mentioned the strike by casino workers at three Detroit properties, including MGM Resorts International MGM Grand - Detroit. That strike has curtailed poker-room operations at two of the three properties and remains unresolved.

Eighteen Strip properties could be impacted by walkout

The 18 properties owned by MGM, Caesars, and Wynn occupy a large percentage of the heart of the Vegas Strip. These are the properties that would be affected by the planned strike:

  • MGM Resorts International: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM.
  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq.
  • Wynn Resorts: Wynn/Encore Las Vegas.

A labor walkout could significantly add to the ongoing controversies created by the planning and arrival of the F1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas. Race planning and construction have snarled the Strip for months, and the casinos adjacent to and overlooking the street course have seen their expected windfall threatened in more ways than one. That included pressure from F1 race organizers, who have demanded extra fees from many of the casinos or risk having their hotel rooms' views of the race impeded by sight-blocking construction.

Picket lines organized and manned by thousands of union members would add more chaos to the area surrounding the race in addition to the strike's effect on casinos' operations. The union employees have been working without a contract since September, and at the present time, no contract talks are scheduled.

Featured image source: Facebook/Culinary Union 226