Unions representing hospitality workers in Las Vegas have reached a tentative deal with Caesars Entertainment for a new contract for 10,000 employees. This agreement comes just two days before a potential strike that could have shut down the Strip. The negotiations are part of a larger trend of unions pushing for better pay and benefits in various industries, taking advantage of a shortage of workers. Casino resort operators in Las Vegas have been experiencing record profits as tourism recovers from the pandemic.
The Culinary Workers and Bartenders Unions have described the tentative five-year contract as “historic.” The deal includes wage increases in the first year and provisions for healthcare and pensions. Ted Pappageorge, Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer, emphasized the significance of these improvements. Caesars Entertainment, the second-largest casino operator in Las Vegas, has stated that the agreement provides meaningful wage increases and aligns with their plans to create more union jobs on the Strip.
In addition to wage increases and benefits, the Las Vegas unions have also achieved other important concessions. For the first time in 30 years, the workload for housekeepers has been reduced. The unions have also negotiated language that allows them to campaign and support non-union workers on the strip. Overall, the unions consider this contract to be the best they have ever had.
While visits to Las Vegas in September were slightly lower than in 2019, room rates have increased significantly. The city is preparing for events like the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, which is expected to attract thousands of tourists. Companies that cannot afford a strike shutdown are under pressure to make significant concessions, according to Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan. Workers like Daniel Busby, a fry cook at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, have expressed relief that a deal has been reached, as they were simply asking for a more comfortable living situation.
The unions have been in negotiations with MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, but no agreement has been reached yet. Talks are ongoing, and a strike deadline is approaching. A strike at MGM and Wynn would affect nine casino resorts and 25,000 workers, with the majority employed by MGM. MGM expects to reach an agreement with the unions and has promised the largest pay increase in the history of its contracts. Wynn Resorts has a bargaining session scheduled for Thursday.
The Culinary and Bartenders unions represent approximately 53,000 workers in Las Vegas. The potential wage increases could result in significant additional labor costs for Caesars and MGM. Caesars and MGM shares have seen a slight increase, while Wynn Resorts has experienced a slight decrease.
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