Casino Workers Say “Yes” to Strike
The votes are finally in and the message is clear – casino workers in Las Vegas will be going ahead with their planned strike.
The strike will see several thousand employees walk off from their jobs for the first time in 30 years.
The voting session, which took place earlier this week, saw 25,000 workers belonging to the Culinary Union and employed across 34 casino-resorts in the state cast their ballots, showing just how powerful Nevada’s largest labor organization really is.
The move now puts the bargaining chip in the hands of the union negotiators, who are looking to establish a 5-year working contract with expanded benefits.
The union planned a similar strike in 2002. However, workers ended up voting against the strike since the casinos agreed to their deal. The only time Nevada experienced a strike of this magnitude was back in 1984 when workers refused to work for almost two months. The strike led to the loss of several million dollars in casino revenue.
Many of the workers in the current strike are people who play a critical role in the day to day operations of the casinos. This includes food servers, bartenders, bellmen, kitchen workers, cooks, porters, and housekeepers.
Some of the casinos predicted to be hit the worst include MGM Grand, The D, El Cortez, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, Stratosphere, and Caesars Palace.
The strike may even affect fans heading to Las Vegas to see the Golden Knights compete for the Stanley Cup in the finals, a rare occurrence for a team entering its first year.
The vote basically allows union negotiators to order a strike any time after the 1st of June. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean the strikes will occur on a city-wide scale, the possibility does exist. But, the real reason behind the strikes is to provide the union negotiators with more leverage.
Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, stated that a strike would be the last resort and that the focus was mainly on reaching an agreement. However, he added, city-wide strikes would definitely occur if the casinos failed to work things out.
Union officials are looking to have wages raised and boost job security, which is a growing concern due to the increasing dependence on technology. Other than that, there is also a demand to increase protections against sexual harassment.