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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Las Vegas hospitality workers vote to authorize strike

MGM is the largest employer on the Las Vegas Strip.  (Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg)
By Aaron Gregg Washington Post

Las Vegas hospitality workers voted to authorize a strike against 22 casino resorts as they continue to press for a contract, according to a late Tuesday release from the Culinary and Bartenders Union.

Although work stoppages are far from certain, the vote increases the likelihood that a growing labor dispute could hit the country’s biggest gambling hub heading into the fall.

Workers are seeking a new five-year contract that includes larger wage increases, a reduction in housekeeping quotas and new protections regarding how employers’ use of new technology impacts jobs.

The union is not just large, representing about 60,000 workers in Nevada, but has traditionally played an important role in political organizing as well.

“If these gaming companies don’t come to an agreement, the workers have spoken and we will be ready to do whatever it takes – up to and including a strike,” Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the culinary union, said in a statement.

The strike authorization passed by an overwhelming 95 percent vote in favor.

It would cover some of the best-known casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, including MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Wynn/Encore Resorts.

The authorization comes amid a wave of labor activism, including an autoworker strike against the Big Three automakers and a Hollywood walkout of actors and writers.

The Writers Guild of America announced Tuesday that writers will return to work Wednesday after they reached a compromise with the studios.

If the culinary workers proceed with a strike, it would be their first in more than four decades.

The last time the culinary union walked out, in 1991, 500 workers at the Frontier casino spent more than six years on strike, eventually resulting in a contract.

MGM Resorts did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.