Las Vegas union hotel workers ratify Caesars contract

LAS VEGAS– Hotel union workers in Las Vegas voted overwhelmingly Monday to approve their contract deal with casino giant Caesars Entertainment, ending long-running labor disputes that had brought the threat of a historic strike to the Strip.

The Culinary Workers Union announced on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that 99% of votes were in favor of the new five-year agreement.

“BEST CONTRACT EVER! Congratulations to 10,000 hospitality workers!” the post said.

The union is also expected to approve proposed contracts with Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International, the Strip’s largest employer, later this week.

The breakthrough agreements were tentatively reached earlier this month, just hours before the union threatened a mass strike at 18 hotel-casinos on the Strip, including Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, MGM Grand and Caesars Palace.

In a statement, the union’s chief negotiator Ted Pappageorge said workers were willing to take a pay cut if the union went on strike. He said they sacrificed their time off during seven months of negotiations to secure historic wage increases and other big wins, including a reduction in household workloads and improved job security amid technological advances.

“Nothing was promised or guaranteed, and thousands of workers who participated in rallies, protests, civil disobedience, pickets, surveys, picket sign making, strike votes, and property delegations sacrificed themselves to create a better future for themselves and our families to win,” said Pappageorge, himself a former union worker who went on strike with 500 other workers in 1991 at the now-closed New Frontier Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

It became one of the longest strikes in US history, lasting more than six years. The union said all strikers then returned to work with back wages and benefits.

Now Pappageorge says the union has secured a 32% pay increase for its members over five years, with employees receiving a 10% pay increase during the first year of their new contract. He said the casino companies will have earned a total of about $2 billion by the end of the contract.

The contracts cover more than 35,000 employees at properties along the Strip owned or operated by Caesars, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts.

By the end of the contract, Pappageorge says, union workers will earn an average of $35 an hour, including benefits. Union workers currently earn about $26 an hour with benefits.

Pappageorge thanked the casino companies in his statement “for doing the right thing and investing in the frontline workers who keep the entire industry running successfully.”

In separate statements released as the deals were reached, the companies said the contracts recognize union workers for their contributions to the companies’ success, with historic wage increases and growth opportunities tied to plans to bring more union jobs to the Strip.

A strike by workers from all three companies would have been historic, both in scale and timing.

The union — the largest in Nevada with about 60,000 members statewide — had threatened to strike less than a week before Formula 1 was set to debut its new race track on the Strip.

Experts said the consequences of the departure of tens of thousands of employees would have been immediate: less cleaning of rooms. Dirty, unpolished floors. Neglected landscaping. Slow service in restaurants and bars. Long waiting times at valet. Limited room availability.

The Culinary Union’s threat to strike added to a big year for unions, including strikes in Hollywood that brought the film and television industries to a historic standstill, the controversial UPS negotiations that threatened the nation’s supply chain disruption, and the ongoing strike by hotel workers. at Detroit’s three casinos, including MGM Grand Detroit.