The largest labor union in Nevada is ready to go on strike

Courtesy: Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Culinary and Bartenders Unions at the Strike Vote on September 26, 2023 at the Thomas & Mack Center (UNLV) for over 53,000 hospitality workers.

By Emilia Pablo

September 27, 2023

Over 40,000 Las Vegas casino and hotel workers who have been working without a contract since Sept. 15 are ready to go on strike.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 announced late Tuesday evening that “95% [of Las Vegas hospitality workers] have voted yes to authorize a Citywide Strike.”

The vote gives the union the power to call for a strike if negotiations continue to falter with 22 of the city’s leading casinos and resorts, including all of the MGM and Caesars-owned casinos and Wynn/Encore Resorts.

If a strike is ultimately called, thousands of workers would head to the picket line, causing a major shut down of The Strip as numerous major casinos would be left without workers.

“I voted yes to authorize a strike because I’m fighting for my family and for our future,” said María Sánchez, a guest room attendant at the Bellagio and Culinary Union member for three years. “The workload since the pandemic has been intense and when I get home I’m so tired and I don’t have energy to take my two kids to the park or play with them. I feel sad like I’m just living to work and it’s not right.”

Sánchez said she was considering getting a second job, but is already working so much at her Bellagio job.

“I believe that one job should be enough!” Sánchez said. “I voted yes to win the best contract ever so that I can work one job and come home to spend time with my children.”

Sánchez is a clear voice that represents how thousands of workers feel; the union’s message is #OneJobShouldBeEnough.

What are the workers asking for? In this negotiation, the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have proposed new 5-year contract language that includes: higher wages, better benefits, workload reductions, stronger technology protections, and better safety protections. They have also emphasized the right to strike. The Culinary Union has not set a strike deadline.

The Culinary Union’s social media platform announced that negotiations with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and The Wynn Las Vegas — would continue.

About 53,000 hospitality workers participated in the Strike Vote at Thomas & Mack on Tuesday. They voted twice throughout the day, once at 9:30 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. By late evening, the tally was finally completed and announced.

“I was at The Thomas and Mack to have my voice heard,”said Roselyn Buie, a cook at the Flamingo and Culinary Union member for 37 years

“I was proud to vote yes to authorize a strike to protect my future. I’ve worked hard for decades to provide for my family and I want to continue to protect my retirement and pension. If I have to go on strike to win the best contract ever, then I’m ready to do that in order to win for my family and have my fair share of what we deserve.”

Culinary Union members work as guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers.

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

“We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project,” said Bethany Khan, Spokesperson for the Culinary Union.

Additionally, the union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples.

  • 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.

CATEGORIES: LABOR | POLITICS

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