UPDATE: On Saturday, the Culinary Union announced that a tentative deal with MGM Resorts covering 24k workers at 10 Vegas casinos had been reached. Negotiations with the other 15 affected casinos are ongoing.
MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas casinos are bracing for labor strife after the company failed to agree on a new contract with its unionized employees.
Labor agreements between 34 Las Vegas casinos and the 50k workers of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 expired at midnight Thursday. The union members had previously voted to hit the picket lines if new deals weren’t reached by Friday.
Early Friday morning, the Culinary Union announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with Caesars Entertainment, which operates nine of the strike-vulnerable casinos. Specifics of the new five-year agreement have yet to leak but the unions had been seeking annual wage hikes of 4% and greater workplace safety protections.
MGM, which operates 10 of the affected casinos, claims to be continuing to negotiate with the unions, but offered no timeline on when it expected any breakthroughs.
The unions have similarly yet to establish a timeline for when their workers might hit the picket lines, but the Culinary Union has set up a strike headquarters to prepare for the inevitable. Despite the new Caesars deal, a Caesars employee told the local NBC affiliate that he would join his fellow workers on the picket line once the workday was through as a gesture of solidarity.
The union workers represent a smorgasbord of frontline and behind-the-scenes staff, including bartenders, cocktail servers, housekeepers, porters and cooks. The unions don’t represent croupiers or dealers, so gaming activity at the affected venues will continue more or less unimpeded.
Other operators on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown that are potentially facing strike action include Boyd Gaming, Golden Entertainment, Penn National Gaming and Station Casinos.