Hospitality workers and 10 downtown Las Vegas hotel-casinos will have several more days to finalize agreements on a new five-year contract, Culinary Local 226 said Wednesday.
About 2,600 union members who work downtown and at some Strip resorts were preparing to strike at 5 a.m. Friday if they didn’t reach deals with real estate developers. The union extended the strike deadline for the 10 downtown properties until 5 a.m. Monday, but the Friday deadline remains the same for three independently operated on-Strip and off-Strip properties: Rio, Sahara and Virgin.
The Plaza reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning for its 250 unionized workers, the first downtown property to do so.
“We are pleased to have (the tentative agreement),” said Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel. “We are happy that our team members will be recognized.”
“We’ve worked hard since last year to win historic contracts, but we’re not done yet. It’s time for workers to get a fair contract and have security for themselves and their families. Companies are making record profits and workers deserve to have record contracts,” Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer of the union, said in a press release. “Workers at other independents on the Strip and downtown deserve the same wage increases, benefit protections, safety and technology language, and workload reductions as the rest of the Las Vegas Strip, and they are organized and ready to fight for it ”.
Despite the changed deadlines, Culinary plans to begin continuous picketing of all 13 unsettled properties – as of this writing – starting at 10 a.m. Friday until 10 p.m. Saturday. The demonstration is not a strike, although the union said it will still urge customers not to cross the line on Friday and Saturday.
The union set a strike deadline earlier this month to push for agreements about a week before the region hosts Super Bowl 58, when about 330,000 visitors are expected for the national event. Union officials said they are making picket plans if the strike deadline passes.
Negotiators began conversations with downtown employers in mid-January, weeks after the Strip deal concluded and after the holiday season. Union officials say they will meet with employers Wednesday and Thursday to continue discussions. Culinary officials said they want to establish a “historic” contract that offers earnings similar to those earned with the Strip’s three largest employers last fall. These include increased wages and benefits, mandatory daily cleaning, protection from job-substituting technologies, workforce safety measures and more.
A source close to negotiations at a downtown property said the sticking points were finances and daily cleaning needs. The source said their concern is that the job market for guest room attendants is already strained.
Union members ratified an agreement with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts in November. The union threatened to go on strike several days before the Formula 1 race, putting pressure on operators to finalize the contractual agreement. Pappageorge said union negotiators meet weekly or daily with employers to work on their respective agreements, but not enough progress has been made.
Culinary is fighting for a new five-year, citywide contract for its members. It represents the housekeepers, waiters, delivery boys, porters, bartenders, and kitchen and laundry workers throughout the valley.