Culinary workers union local 226 could vote to strike this month

Photo courtesy of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Culinary Union members vote at the Thomas and Mack Center on May 22, 2018

By Emilia Pablo

September 11, 2023

The largest union in Nevada — the Culinary Workers Local 226 — is ready to strike, if they do not come to an agreement with some of the largest hotel and casino properties in Las Vegas.

Some of the Las Vegas Strip hotel and casinos involved in the negotiation for a renewed contact for 53,000 hospitality workers are:

  • MGM Resorts International, which include: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGG
  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which include: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and the Linq
  • Wynn/Encore Resorts, Circus Circus, Four Seasons, Hilton Grand Vacations, Mirage, Rio, Sahara Las Vegas, Strat, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Trump Hotel Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels, Waldorf Astoria, and Westgate

“Wages, benefits, workload reductions, technology protections, safety, bringing more workers back to work, and the right to strike are all strike issues, and workers will be voting on September 26 to authorize the Culinary and Bartenders Unions to call for a strike,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We are fighting to protect our good jobs with fair wages, job security, and great benefits so that workers and their families can thrive.”

Evangelina Alaniz, a guest room attendant at the MGM Resorts International’s Bellagio and Culinary member for 18 years, shared her testimony:

“My job got so much harder since the pandemic and I’m in constant pain at work. When I get home, I feel guilty that I don’t have energy to spend time with my son, help him with his homework, or even cook dinner some nights,” Alaniz said. “Often, I have to go to bed so I have enough strength to go to work the next day and serve the guests.”

In a statement, the Culinary Union shared the five pillars in their negotiation: Reducing workload, providing the best on-the-job safety protections, strengthening existing technology protections, extending recall rights, and making clear that the no-strike clause does not prevent the Culinary Union from taking action, including strikes, against non-union restaurants on the casino property, and gives casino workers the right to respect picket lines.

“We are negotiating for the best contract ever in the Culinary Union’s history to ensure that one job is enough. Companies are generating record profits and we demand that workers aren’t left behind and have a fair share of that success,” said Pappageorge.

“As companies reduce labor, there are less workers who have even more responsibilities and are doing more work instead of spending quality time with their families, and that has to change. Workers have built this industry and made it successful and that’s why we are demanding that workers share in that prosperity,” he added.

If the union is unable to reach a deal with the casinos and hotels, the strike vote would take place at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sept. 26.

The MGM Resorts International did not respond to a request for comment.

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx, African American, and Asian American Pacific Islander immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages.

It’s also the largest labor union in Nevada, and alongside the Bartenders Union Local 165, represents about 60,000 workers in the various hotels and casinos in Nevada, including guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers.

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  • Emilia Pablo

    Emilia Pablo Bazan is The Nevadan, El Nevadense Political Correspondent. She is an alumna from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism with over 10 years of experience working in the television news industry. She's also a former speechwriter and press officer for the Obama administration and an Emmy award recipient.

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