Economy

Las Vegas Unions and Caesars Reach Tentative Agreement as Strike Looms-TGN

Unions representing hospitality workers in Las Vegas reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday with one of the city’s three major resort operators, two days before a strike deadline that loomed just as tourists arrive for a major international sporting event.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, which are affiliates of UNITE HERE, announced the tentative agreement on a five-year contract with Caesars Entertainment but did not provide details.

The culinary union said the deal had been reached after 20 straight hours of negotiations and covered 10,000 workers. Caesars said in a statement that the accord would provide “meaningful wage increases that align with our past performance, along with continued opportunities for growth tied to our future plans to bring more union jobs to the Las Vegas Strip.”

The two unions said last week that 35,000 members would walk off the job on Friday at 18 hotels along the Strip owned by Caesars, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, posing a major threat to the city’s economy.

Negotiations with MGM and Wynn are scheduled Wednesday and Thursday. Contracts for housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and food servers at the three companies expired on Sept. 15, after being extended from a June deadline.

The Caesars properties in Las Vegas include Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, the Cromwell and the Linq.

The local unions have been negotiating with the resorts since April over demands that include higher wages, more safety protections and stronger recall rights, a protection that prioritizes rehiring laid-off employees, such as those let go during the pandemic lockdowns or economic downturns.

In September, the union passed a strike authorization vote with 95 percent support. More recently, workers have picketed outside the major hotels, marching under palm trees in 80-degree heat with signs that read, “One Job Should Be Enough,” alluding to low pay.

In a series of rolling walkouts that began in July, thousands of housekeepers, front desk clerks and other hospitality workers from several Southern California hotels have been on strike at various times; in Michigan, employees at MGM Grand Detroit have been on strike since mid-October.

“No one wants to strike,” Ted Pappageorge, the head of Local 226, said Tuesday at a news conference. Mr. Pappageorge said getting agreements with the three major chains — the largest in Nevada — was like “landing three planes at once.”

“We’ve got three very large worldwide companies,” he said, adding they were cautiously optimistic agreements would be reached.

As Las Vegas prepared for the impact of a strike, crews began to block off roads and erect bleachers near the Strip, which will serve as the course for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, a big international auto race.

In early December, the National Finals Rodeo is planned for two weeks.

For years, the culinary union, which represents 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada, has been a powerful political force, one seen as a critical base for Democratic candidates in the state and nationally. In 2020, the ground operation and door-knocking campaign by union members helped propel Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a narrow victory in the state.

Ahead of his re-election campaign next year, President Biden trailed former President Donald J. Trump by 10 percentage points in the state in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll.

During a trip last month, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the culinary union’s headquarters and praised the workers as the “true champions for working people.”

Lynnette Curtis contributed reporting.

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