More than 53,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas have voted to authorize a strike, according to the Culinary and Bartenders Unions. The workers, who are employed by various casino and hotel operators on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, are demanding better wages, benefits, and working conditions in their new contracts.
The unions said that 95% of the members who participated in the vote on Tuesday supported the strike authorization. The vote does not mean that a strike will happen, but it gives the unions’ negotiating committee the power to call for one if the negotiations with the employers fail to reach a satisfactory agreement.
The unions represent workers such as cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, servers, porters, and bellmen, who are essential to the operation of the tourism industry in Las Vegas. The current contracts for these workers expire on October 31, 2023.
The unions are fighting for the best contract ever
The Culinary and Bartenders Unions have been negotiating with the major casino and hotel operators in Las Vegas, such as MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Wynn/Encore Resorts, and others, since June. The unions have proposed new contract language that would provide greater security and benefits for the workers, including:
- The largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Culinary Union.
- Protection of health care benefits and pension plans.
- Improved safety measures and training to prevent sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.
- A fair share of the profits generated by the booming tourism industry in Las Vegas.
- A guarantee of job security and opportunities for career advancement.
- A right to participate in the decision-making process regarding the use of new technologies that could affect the workers’ jobs.
The unions said that they are fighting for the best contract ever to ensure that one job is enough for the workers to support themselves and their families.
The strike could have a significant impact on the Las Vegas economy
The last time the Culinary and Bartenders Unions went on a citywide strike was in 1984, when about 15,000 workers walked off the job for 67 days. The strike cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenue and damaged its reputation as a tourist destination.
If the unions decide to call for a strike this year, the impact could be even more severe, as Las Vegas is expecting a surge of visitors in the coming months. The city is hosting several major events, such as the Formula One Grand Prix in November, the National Finals Rodeo in December, and the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
The unions said that they are not planning to disrupt these events, but they are prepared to take action if the employers do not meet their demands. They said that they hope to reach a fair and equitable agreement with the casino and hotel operators before the contracts expire.