Las Vegas
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Thousands of casino workers are set to stage a walkout in Las Vegas in what is billed as the “largest hospitality worker strike in US history”, action that could derail the city’s fast approaching Formula 1 grand prix.

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions has warned that 35,000 workers from 18 casinos will take such action if no agreement can be reached, with a strike deadline of this Friday (November 10) at 5am local time set.

The union has also noted that the potentially affected companies, namely MGM Resorts, Caesars and Wynn, haven’t made enough movement in negotiations after workers voted overwhelmingly to authorise a strike one month ago.

Despite acknowledging that “their current proposal on the table is historic”, a stance that “workers deserve to have record contracts” is maintained “especially after these giant corporations are enjoying their record profits”.

A strike, which would follow seven months of negotiations, could impact the eight MGM properties of Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM.

Caesars’ nine establishments, Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq, would be affected, alongside that of Wynn Resorts, should a five-year contract agreement not be reached before the deadline.

Previously, on a group earnings call, Caesars CEO Thomas Reeg, stated: “When we reach an agreement on the contract, it’s going to be the largest increase that our employees have seen in the four decades since we started interacting with the Culinary Union.”

Despite the potential for action, the union has reiterated that no ‘big table’ negotiations have been scheduled as of yet.

Instead, it was warned that efforts have been intensified ahead of a potential strike, with the union amassing supplies and materials to maintain 45 different strike stations with multiple picket lines around casino resorts on the Strip.

A much debated Grand Prix is scheduled to hit Las Vegas on Sunday 19 November, adding to fellow races in Austin and Miami as the sport continues to grow across the US.

Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union, explained: “We have been preparing for months for a strike and amassing everything we need to maintain a 24/7 strike line at every casino: tablets for strike sign-in, picket signs, portable bathrooms, tables, chairs, bullhorns, lumber for picket sign sticks, generators, sunscreen, banners, canopies, water, hotspots, and more items are arriving every day. 

“Culinary Union has mailed out STRIKE ID CARDS to all potential strikers and is educating workers on how to look up their bank routing and account number to sign up for strike pay. Culinary Union celebrated our 88-year anniversary yesterday and we know first-hand the organising and militancy it has taken to build Nevada’s middle-class and what it will take to ensure working families can thrive. 

“Nothing in our nine decades has been won the easy way and our good jobs weren’t handed to us. We made hospitality jobs in Las Vegas family-sustaining jobs with decades of sacrifice and strength, and we will once again win what we deserve – a great union job with fair wages, job security, and the best health care benefits so that workers can provide for their families. 

“We will strike on Friday, November 10, 2023 because when Culinary Union members do well in Nevada all Nevadans benefit.”

Last month, casino workers in Detroit staged a walkout amid accusations that gaming establishments had played hardball over wages and healthcare, and failed to acknowledge sacrifices made across recent years.

This action involves 3,700 workers employed in positions including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets and engineers at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.