After Months of 'Tense Negotiations,' Good News for Vegas

Vegas casinos, hotel workers union reach tentative deal to avoid a strike
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2023 7:11 AM CST
Vegas Casinos, Hotel Workers Union Reach Deal to Avert Strike
Members of the Culinary Workers Union rally along the Las Vegas Strip on Aug. 10.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Over seven months of tense negotiations, mandatory daily room cleanings underscored the big issues that Las Vegas union hotel workers were fighting to address in their first contracts since the pandemic. Those issues also included job security, better working conditions, and safety while on the job. From the onset of bargaining, Ted Pappageorge, the chief contract negotiator for the Culinary Workers Union, had said tens of thousands of workers whose contracts expired earlier this year would be willing to go on strike to make daily room cleanings mandatory. "Las Vegas needs to be full service," he said last month. It was a message that Pappageorge and the workers would repeat for months as negotiations ramped up and the union threatened to go on strike if they didn't have contracts by first light on Friday with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts.

But by dawn Friday, the union had secured those tentative labor deals, narrowly averting a sweeping strike at 18 hotel-casinos along the Strip. Agreements with MGM and Caesars—the Strip's two largest employers—came earlier in the week, while the agreement with Wynn Resorts was announced just a few hours before the strike deadline, per the AP. In a statement, Wynn Resorts said it was pleased to reach an agreement that "fulfills our shared goal of providing outstanding benefits and overall compensation to our employees in a work environment that is second to none." Terms of the deals weren't immediately released, but the union said in a statement the proposed five-year contracts will provide workers with historic wage increases, reduced workloads, and other unprecedented wins—including the mandated daily room cleanings.

Before the pandemic, daily room cleanings were routine. But as social distancing became commonplace in 2020, hotels began to cut back on room cleanings. More than three years later, the once industrywide standard has yet to make a full comeback. Some companies say it's because there are environmental benefits to offering fewer room cleanings, like saving water. However, without mandatory daily room cleanings, Pappageorge has said, "the jobs of tens of thousands of workers are in jeopardy of cutbacks and reduction." MGM Resorts and Caesars didn't respond Thursday to emailed requests for comment about the issue. A rep for Wynn Resorts said they already offer daily room cleanings and didn't cut back on that service during the pandemic. More here.

(More strike stories.)

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