Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union and Caesars agree to a deal, but MGM and Wynn remain

One done, two to go

The Culinary Local 226 union has reached a tentative agreement with Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas that will allow them to avoid a possible strike later this week. The union announced early Wednesday morning that it had negotiated with Caesars for 20 consecutive hours to finalize the deal.

It’s being called a “trial” because union members have yet to approve the deal.

“In this groundbreaking agreement, our nearly 10,000 UniteHere team members will receive significant wage increases aligned with our past performance, as well as continued growth opportunities related to our future plans to create more union jobs on the Las Vegas Strip,” Caesars Entertainment said in a statement on Wednesday. “Through this agreement, Caesars Entertainment ensures that our team members grow as we grow. We are proud of our decades-long relationship with UniteHere and our shared commitment to the hotel associates who are the heart and soul of Las Vegas.”

The union had set a strike deadline of 5 a.m. Friday. Assuming union members vote in favor of the five-year contract, the nine union-affiliated Caesars properties on the Las Vegas Strip would be safe from a strike.

MGM was scheduled to meet with the union on Wednesday, but we don’t know exactly how it went. Wynn will meet with the union on Thursday.

Get what they want

Culinary Local 226 had already been negotiating with Caesars and the other casino companies for seven months. The contracts were due to expire on June 1 but were extended until September to allow for further negotiations. Those extensions have now ended and union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike if it had to happen.

The union pushed for big wage increases, particularly given the success the casino industry has had since pandemic restrictions were lifted, protections against technologies that could threaten jobs, and a better work-life balance. Details of what the two sides have agreed to will not be known until union members formally approve the deal.

A possible strike by tens of thousands of casino workers is particularly threatening as the much-hyped Formula 1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas takes place next weekend. The city has been preparing for months for the major event, which will see the 3.8-mile route wind through Las Vegas and down the Strip. To prepare the route, grandstands were built and trees were felled.

Local insiders recently reported that MGM is requiring its corporate employees to step in and take over the work of union employees if a strike occurs. The company could hire “strike suppression” experts to put pressure on union members. Company employees who refuse to cross their colleagues’ picket lines risk being fired by Christmas, according to reports.

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