MGM, Culinary reach tentative agreement, Wynn on deck
Culinary workers demonstrating on the Strip Sunday. (Photo courtesy Culinary 226)
Less than 24 hours before a strike deadline, Culinary Workers Local 226 reached a tentative contract agreement with MGM Resorts International, the union announced Thursday morning.
The announcement comes a day after the union and Caesars Entertainment reached a tentative agreeement Wednesday morning.
Negotiations are ongoing with the other major casino corporation where the contract is running out, Wynn Resorts.
Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said Wednesday that up to 25,000 union workers at MGM properties and Wynn were still prepared to go on strike “if we cannot get the contract we deserve.”
The union announced last week that resorts had until 5 a.m. Nov. 10 to reach an agreement or workers from those properties without contract agreements would go on strike.
Pappageorge Wednesday also welcomed a statement from MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle Wednesday saying a deal is all but imminent.
The union plans to meet with Wynn on Thursday.
The tentative agreement with Caesars announced Wednesday includes unspecified wage increases and mandating daily room cleanings.
“Daily room cleaning was the most difficult issue out of all these negotiations,” Pappageorge said. “It was exacerbated because we had state legislation requiring daily room cleanings but some of these state politicians turned their backs on these workers.”
Daily room cleanings were implemented as a safety protocol during the pandemic but the requirement was rescinded during the recent legislative session with the support of legislative Democratic leadership.
“It makes the victory more powerful and striking,” he said.
Culinary, which has been pushing for new, five-year contracts with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn, overwhelmingly authorized a strike in September when resorts weren’t meeting contract demands.
The Friday strike deadline is on the eve of next week’s Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Pappageorge declined to give specifics of wage increases included in the Caesars contract since the union was in ongoing negotiations with other companies.
“I can tell you the (annual) increases we negotiated at Caesars Entertainment for tip and non-tip workers are larger than nearly the wage increases for the entire five year contract of the previous contract,” he said.
With the rise of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies that could replace union jobs, the Culinary Union also sought greater protections for workers.
Pappageorge said some jobs like cashiers, servers and bartenders have already seen the rise of automation taking over that not only reduces the current workforce but also results in the “remaining job duties get pushed onto the workers that are left behind.”
“Our language says a company has to notify the union and bargain six months ahead of time before they introduce new technology that could reduce jobs or alter jobs in a significant way,” he said.
Now that the union has reached an agreement with Caesars, workers will be asked to ratify it in the next ten days.
“Workers, about 10,000 of them, will have the opportunity to choose whether or not they will accept or reject the contract,” Pappageorge said. “We are confident the vote will accept it.”
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