In the wake of stalled contract negotiations, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, representing non-gaming employees in Las Vegas, is preparing for possible strike action.
Ted Pappageorge, the union’s Secretary-Treasurer, has indicated that picket lines might appear in front of up to 20 casinos on the Strip and downtown areas. This action is slated for the weekend preceding Super Bowl LVIII, a major event hosted in Las Vegas.
While recent months have seen successful contract agreements with major casino operators like MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Las Vegas, covering over 40,000 workers, there are still 20 properties — nine on the Strip and 11 downtown — without renewed contracts.
These unresolved contracts affect approximately 7,400 workers. The union is seeking wage increases, benefits, new technology job protections, and workload reductions comparable to those agreed upon with the ‘big three’ companies.
The union has set a strict deadline of 5 a.m. on February 2 for reaching tentative agreements. Failure to meet this deadline will result in workers walking off their jobs to establish picket lines.
Pappageorge emphasizes that the union’s goal is to avoid a strike, but preparations are underway to mobilize for potential action, including gaining strike pledges, scheduling pickets, and arranging strike pay logistics.
Culinary Union Strike
Historical Context of Union Strikes
This situation echoes historical labor actions in Las Vegas, with the last citywide strike by the Culinary Union occurring in 1984. Since then, individual resorts have experienced strikes, with the longest U.S. strike in history taking place at the Frontier Hotel Casino on the Strip, lasting over six years.
Union’s Stance and Casino Response
Pappageorge asserts that post-pandemic changes necessitate fair compensation for workers, stating, “These companies are doing well and workers want their fair share and they’re prepared to strike to achieve that goal.”
However, representatives of the casino operators have either declined to comment or could not be reached regarding the ongoing discussions.
As the deadline approaches, the potential for a significant labor action looms over Las Vegas’s bustling hospitality sector.
The outcome of these negotiations will likely have a profound impact on the industry, workers, and the city’s economy, particularly during a period featuring major events like the Super Bowl and various conventions.
Originating from Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, Neshko Manev pursued his studies in business management and game design, transitioning from Varna Free University in Bulgaria to the University of Greenwich. During his tenure at Greenwich, he concentrated on game design, with a significant focus on Virtual Reality systems. This intensive study provided him a nuanced understanding of the gaming sphere, influencing his subsequent professional path.