Nearly 25,000 Las Vegas casino employees voted last night, May, 22, to authorize a strike next month, according to the Associated Press. Ninety-nine percent of the union member voted in favor of the strike.
The vote now allows the UNITE HERE’s Culinary and Bartenders Unions negotiating committees to call a strike any time after June 1 – the day in which roughly 50,000 union members’ contracts are set to expire with various hotels. The affected properties include those owned by MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Penn National, Golden Entertainment and Boyd Gaming, among others (there are 34 casinos in total who have employees in the union).
While a strike is a last resort, according to Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, if it does come to fruition, it could cause mass disruptions on the Strip. It’s even expected that a strike could cause problems for fans flocking in to watch the Vegas Golden Knights play in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The union members, which includes bartenders, guestroom attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and kitchen workers, are advocating for stronger protections against sexual harassment, improved workplace safety and new rules on subcontracting, technology and immigration. The unions are also calling for higher pay resulting from the recent tax cuts passed by President Donald Trump and Congress.
MGM said in a statement: "As we continue to bargain in good faith, we are confident that we'll resolve contract issues and negotiate a contract that works for everyone.”
The last city-wide casino workers strike in Las Vegas occurred in 1984. It lasted 67 days. Union members lost an estimated $75 million in wages and benefits (which amounts to more than $182 million in 2018, adjusted for inflation), while the city lost a similar amount in tourism revenue, plus millions more from gambling income.