Las Vegas Hotel Strike Averted After Unions Strike Deals with Resorts

Debra Jefferies, a cocktail waitress at the Horseshoe Las Vegas, spent much of the week wondering whether she would be walking a picket line, as she did in 1984 — the last time there was a major strike among hospitality workers in the city.

“There was solidarity back then, just like there has been right now,” said Ms. Jefferies, 68. “Each generation has stepped up to demand better working conditions.”

Nearly 35,000 union members, including Ms. Jefferies, had threatened to begin a strike on Friday against the city’s three big casino operators after months of negotiations had failed to yield a new five-year labor agreement.

But last-minute maneuvering averted a walkout as the resort owners — Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts — came to terms, one by one, on tentative contracts with the city’s two most powerful unions.

Those stakes made a labor agreement all the more crucial.

The dispute pitted Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 — affiliates of the labor confederation UNITE HERE — against Caesars, MGM and Wynn, which operate 18 hotels along the The Strip and are the state’s three biggest employers. Ted Pappageorge, the head of Local 226, likened the negotiations to landing “three large planes at once.”

The unions pushed for contracts that would raise wages, bolster safety practices and ease concerns about the introduction of new technology that could affect jobs.

“Hospitality workers will now be able to provide for their families and thrive in Las Vegas,” Mr. Pappageorge said, adding that the MGM Resorts contract would provide compensation increases “far above” those in the last contract, which amounted to a $4.57-an-hour increase in overall in wages, health care and pensions.

Details of the tentative agreements have not been released, but the terms are expected to be similar across the three companies. Under the contract that expired Sept. 15, union members make $26 an hour on average.

Stephen M. Miller, an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the sea change in the balance of power between management and labor that has occurred in the post-pandemic period is on clear display in Las Vegas.

Mr. Miller said the government stimulus money during the pandemic gave laid-off workers, including many who worked in the culinary union in Las Vegas, the resources to reconsider their future employment path.

“The labor market is involved in a large restructuring process, which has given labor more bargaining power,” Mr. Miller said. “The resurgence of strikes and threats of strikes is the observable outcome of that power shift.”

Sahred From Source link Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *