Hundreds of workers launch 48-hour strike at Virgin Hotels

Culinary Union workers picketing outside of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on April 11, 2024. (Frank Alejandre / The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

By Jannelle Calderón

May 10, 2024

Lack of compromise for wage increases drives a wedge between Culinary Union and Virgin Hotels, pushing hundreds of workers to strike.

After five months of unfruitful contract negotiations, about 700 workers at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas walked out of their jobs to strike for 48 hours — making it Culinary Workers Union Local 226’s first strike in over 20 years.

Virgin Hotels is the last property amidst five-year contract negotiations with the Culinary Union. Late last year and earlier this year, the union and properties on the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas agreed on their five-year contracts, covering about 50,000 workers.

Virgin Hotels’ union contract expired last June and extensions have also been exhausted, the union said. Workers are pushing for an agreement with benefits and economic packages like their Strip counterparts, including wage increases, health care benefits, pension, work security protections as technology advances, and workload reduction.

Ted Pappageorge, Culinary Union secretary-treasurer, told reporters on a call Thursday that the strike is the “last resort” as the company seems to not want to compromise on wage increases.

“They just keep saying ‘zero, zero, zero.’ But we definitely need the economic package. I don’t know what more we can do,” Pappageorge said. “They have put hundreds of millions of dollars into the renovations but zero for workers’ wages. And there’s no way to get past them … I feel like this will definitely get them to know that we’re serious.”

Pappageorge added that while there aren’t any plans to extend the strike past Sunday at 5 a.m., it all depends on how the scheduled negotiation meetings go — the next is set for May 14.

Virgin Hotels filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ahead of the anticipated strike. The complaint accuses the union of failing to negotiate in good faith and that union officials were engaged in “unlawful ‘take it or leave it’ bargaining.”

Pappageorge said Thursday that the complaint to the NLRB had no merit and was a “company stunt.”

“We’re just tired. We need something from them,” Pamela Holmes, a lead usher at Virgin Hotels said. “It’s been five months that we’ve been going back and forth and they’re just not meeting us … Everyone else in town has got it. And we’re the last ones.”

  • Jannelle Calderón

    Jannelle Calderón is a bilingual politics and community multimedia reporter with a passion to highlight the human side to policy and issues as well as showcasing the vibrant cultures found in Southern Nevada. She previously reported for The Nevada Independent and graduated from UNLV.



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