Culinary contracts with MGM, Caesars, Wynn expire as strike authorization vote nears

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Contracts expired Friday for 40,000 workers in the Culinary and Bartenders unions as the possibility of a strike looms over the Las Vegas Strip.

A statement from Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge on Monday said formal letters have been sent to each of the properties in MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts “to initiate a 7-day notice to end the contract extensions that were in place.”

While workers report under an expired contract, “there is an increased risk of a potential major labor dispute in Las Vegas. Union contracts are only expired with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts,” according to the statement.

A strike authorization vote is scheduled on Sept. 26. No strike deadline has been set.

Culinary Union represents 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada, with 53,000 based in Las Vegas. The union is in active negotiations for a new 5-year contract this year. The union says 40,000 workers are employed at MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts — the three largest gaming employers in the state.

The union listed seven strikes over its 88-year history in Las Vegas, the most recent coming 32 years ago when the longest strike in U.S. history began at the Frontier.

Pappageorge said on Sept. 7 that the unions and casinos were “far apart,” but today’s statement did not provide any update on the status of talks.

On Aug. 1, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg dismissed concerns over negotiations. “I’d expect that we’ll have new agreements by the fall and I’m not expecting a whole lot of drama around them,” he said.

A day later, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle told investors, “The big thing that’s going to impact us is wage.” Pay adjustments for housekeepers will likely add to labor costs going forward, he said. Hornbuckle remained positive, noting there hasn’t been a strike since the 1980s.

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