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June 24, 2024

Las Vegas Hotel Workers Reach Deals, Avert Strike During Super Bowl Week

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Feb 5, 2024

Threatened strikes by Las Vegas hospitality workers during Super Bowl week have been averted after unions reached tentative agreements with several major casino resorts on the Strip and downtown. However, negotiations remain ongoing with a handful of properties.

Culinary Workers Union Reaches Deals with 9 Casinos

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents over 60,000 hospitality employees in Las Vegas and Reno, had issued a strike deadline of February 6 for about 25,000 workers across 17 properties in Las Vegas.

As of February 5, the union announced new 5-year contracts for nearly 10,000 of its members working at Circus Circus, Sahara, El Cortez, Four Queens, Main Street Station, The Plaza, Binion’s, Golden Nugget, Fremont Hotel & Casino, and Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

The union had warned workers were prepared to picket if agreements couldn’t be reached by February 6 to avoid disrupting Las Vegas during Super Bowl week, one of the busiest tourist periods for the city.

Biden Weighs Joining Workers’ Picket Line

The high stakes negotiations even got the attention of President Biden. Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said Biden called her on February 4 and was considering joining workers on the picket line if the situation escalated to a strike.

“He said ‘If you go on strike, I will be there with you shoulder to shoulder supporting you,’” Argüello-Kline stated. The White House hasn’t confirmed Biden’s remarks.

No Agreement Yet With Some Major Properties

While deals have been struck with numerous casinos, the Culinary Union still doesn’t have new contracts for workers at Caesars Palace, The Venetian, and The Palazzo.

Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas also remain at odds with the union over terms. Combined, nearly 15,000 employees across those 5 properties could still walk off the job if agreements aren’t reached soon.

The union pushed back its strike deadline for those hotels to February 13. That gives an additional week for both sides to continue negotiations before the big game on February 12.

What Hospitality Workers Are Seeking

Union leaders say the proposed contracts aim to provide stability for hospitality employees facing high inflation and the rising cost of living in Las Vegas. Priorities have included:

  • Annual wage increases to keep pace with inflation
  • Protecting workers’ health care and retirement benefits
  • Increased safety protections for housekeepers
  • Guaranteed set days off each week

Culinary Union spokesperson Bethany Khan stated the tentative agreements meet all those goals. The contracts now move to union members for a ratification vote.

Potential Impact of Strikes During Super Bowl Week

If the outstanding contracts remain unresolved and employees walk out, it could significantly disrupt Las Vegas tourism and operations at affected casinos.

Week Projected Las Vegas Visitors Estimated Visitor Spending
Typical February 750k $500m
Super Bowl Week 1.25m $900m

Based on the above projections, a strike during Super Bowl could put nearly $400 million in visitor spending at risk if guests reconsider travel plans. Casino revenues would also take a major hit without sufficient staffing levels in restaurants, bars, housekeeping, and other key operational areas.

While the union likely wouldn’t launch pickets until after February 12 to avoid directly disrupting Super Bowl events, the fallout could still be significant if agreements remain pending.

Outlook Going Forward

The Culinary Union has shown it possesses substantial leverage in these negotiations based on the economic impact potential strikes would bring. Union leaders have also indicated they are continuing “around the clock” talks with Caesars Entertainment and other holdouts.

Barring any major setbacks, the remaining contracts will likely get resolved without employees resorting to strikes. However, the union is clearly ready to call for pickets on February 13 if necessary to pressure casino owners.

In the end, Las Vegas tourists and hospitality workers both appear poised to avoid the disruption of actions marring Super Bowl week in the city. But the Culinary Union will keep playing hardball at the bargaining table to gain the wage hikes, benefits, and protections its members are seeking.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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