Culinary Union reaches tentative deals with MGM and Caesars

Caesars Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

By Associated Press

November 9, 2023

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas hotel workers union reached a deal with MGM Resorts International, the largest employer on the Las Vegas Strip, on the heels of its breakthrough agreement with Caesars Entertainment, saying the agreement provides significant raises and safety improvements.

The Culinary Workers Union announced the tentative five-year agreement Thursday that it said covers about 25,000 workers at the Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Park MGM.

“After seven months of negotiations, we are proud to say that this is the best contract and economic package we have ever won in our 88-year-history,” Ted Pappageorge, the union’s secretary-treasurer, said in a statement.

“Workers have secured significant raises every year for the next five years, preserved our great union health insurance, union pension, and comprehensive union benefits,” Pappageorge said.

Other wins are housekeeping workload reductions, improved safety, and “the ability to have a say in how technology impacts our work,” he said.


Finally, some good news! The Culinary Union announced a Tentative Agreement with Caesars Entertainment for nine Las Vegas properties that employ approximately 10,000 hospitality workers. Members will have to vote on the contract for it to become official. . . . . . . . . . #OneJobShouldBeEnough #CulinaryWorkersUnion #lasvegasworkers #vegsas #union #strike #supportworkers #culinary226 #supportstrike #supportunions @culinary226 #noticias #nevadanoticias #vegasbaby #thenevadan #nevada #nevadanews #vegas #vegasnews #hendersonnevada #lasvegas #henderson #hendersonnv #clarkcounty #elko #elkonevada #northlasvegas #sparksnv #Winnemucca #reno

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MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said employees “are the heart of our company and the driving force in the success we’ve enjoyed in Las Vegas post-pandemic.

“We’re pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that averts a strike, gives our Culinary Union employees a well-earned boost to pay and benefits and reduces workloads — all while continuing to provide opportunities for growth and advancement,” Hornbuckle said in a statement.

The union had threatened to begin a strike in the pre-dawn hours Friday if negotiations failed, which could have been catastrophic, especially as the Las Vegas Strip expects to host hundreds of thousands of people for next week’s Formula 1 debut.

A walkout still could happen on a much smaller scale if the union and Wynn Resorts don’t reach a deal by 5 a.m. Friday for 5,000 workers at two properties, but that’s unlikely given the unions’ tentative agreements with Caesars and MGM Resorts.

“Historically, this is pretty much how it always goes: As soon as one company reaches a deal, the others just fall right in line,” said Bill Werner, an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose research includes hospitality law and labor relations.

But, he said, “I would say this is as close as we’ve come in a long time to an actual strike.”

The union is scheduled to negotiate with Wynn Resorts on Thursday.

The union has been fighting since April for new five-year contracts for members working at 18 properties owned or operated by MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts.

The union caught a break at dawn Wednesday when it reached a tentative deal with Caesars that covers 10,000 workers at the company’s flagship Caesars Palace, as well as Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Cromwell and Linq.

The pact with Caesars came after 20 hours of bargaining that began Tuesday and stretched into Wednesday morning.

Caesars said in a statement that the agreement “recognizes the integral contributions our Team Members have made to the success we have seen in Las Vegas over the last few years” with meaningful wage increases and opportunities for growth tied to plans to bring more union jobs to the Strip.

Outside Caesars Palace on Wednesday, visitor Joshua Guray told The Associated Press he came in on a morning flight from Los Angeles and had planned to be in Las Vegas for less than 24 hours.

The only item on his itinerary was a dinner reservation with a friend at one of his favorite restaurants — Bacchanal, the luxury buffet at Caesars Palace. He said if the strike had gone ahead he would have ditched his dinner reservations rather than cross a picket line.

“I try to stand in solidarity with other workers,” he said. “Life can be hard out there, so I understand what they’re fighting for.”

A strike would be the latest in a series of high-profile actions nationwide in what has been a big year for labor unions. That includes walkouts in Hollywood, UPS’ contentious negotiations that threatened to disrupt the nation’s supply chain, and the ongoing hotel workers strike at Detroit’s three casinos, including MGM Grand Detroit.

The hospitality workers said they would strike for as long as it takes to get fair contracts — from the housekeepers and utility porters who work behind the scenes to keep the Strip’s mega-resorts humming, to the bartenders and cocktail servers who provide the customer service that has helped make Las Vegas famous.


Se preparan trabajadores de la Unión Culinaria Local 226 para una huelga. Trabajadores de la Unión Culinaria Local 226 siguen haciendo presión para lograr un contrato justo y así, frenar una inminente huelga que paralizaría el Strip. Mientras se avecina la huelga de trabajadores hoteleros más grande en la historia de EE. UU., la Unión Culinaria continúa la preparación de la huelga mediante la fabricación de carteles para “piquetes” de huelga. Ángela Laguna, una recamarera con nueve años de antigüedad en el hotel & casino Bellagio desea poder tener una vida plena y digna. . . . . . #OneJobShouldBeEnough #CulinaryWorkersUnion #lasvegasworkers #vegsas #union #strike #supportworkers #culinary226 #supportstrike #supportunions @culinary226 #noticias #nevadanoticias #vegasbaby #thenevadan #nevada #nevadanews #vegas #vegasnews #hendersonnevada #lasvegas #henderson #hendersonnv #clarkcounty #elko #elkonevada #northlasvegas #sparksnv #Winnemucca #reno

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“I am willing to go on strike because I have a 10-year-old daughter who comes to negotiations with me, and she is going to inherit all of this,” said Tiffany Thomas, a guest room attendant at Mandalay Bay. “I refuse to sit back and watch what we’ve built crumble. I want my daughter to look at me and know I fought for a better future.”

Members currently receive health insurance and earn about $26 hourly, including benefits, union spokesperson Bethany Khan said. The union hasn’t revealed what it has been seeking in pay raises because, Khan said, “we do not negotiate in public.”

Khan said any deal reached before Friday would have to be approved by the union’s rank and file. After that, she said, terms of the contracts would be made public.



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