Caesars dealers reject agreement with tip-sharing provision


It's back to the negotiating table after dealers at Caesars Place overwhelmingly rejected a labor contract that would have included a tip-sharing provision with casino management, similar to the policy in place at Wynn Las Vegas.

Joe Carbon, gaming division director of the Transport Workers Union Local 721, said negotiations with Caesars Palace are scheduled to resume April 12.

"We are not agreeing to it," Carbon said of the tip-sharing policy. He added a tip sharing was not included in the contract agreed to in November by dealers at Caesars in Atlantic City.

Dealers at Caesars in Atlantic City approved a five-year contract with the casino that increased salaries 18 percent over the life of the agreement. The United Auto Workers represents some 800 dealers at Caesars.

Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment Corp., parent of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Caesars Atlantic City, declined to comment on the contract negotiations since talks were set to resume next month.

The negotiations only involve dealers at Caesars Palace, and not dealers at any of Caesars Entertainment's nine other Las Vegas properties.

The controversial tip-sharing policy, where dealers share between 15 percent and 20 percent of their tips with management, was first implemented in August 2006 at Wynn Las Vegas. That decision led to the union efforts by dealers.

In July 2009, the Nevada Labor Commission declared the practice legal. Dealers at Wynn have appealed that decision. The contract with Wynn does not interfere with the dealers' ongoing legal challenges.

Wynn employs 700 full-time and pat-time dealers.

If the Nevada Supreme Court rules in Wynn's favor it could lead other casinos in Las Vegas and statewide to institute similar polices.

Carbon reminded those who criticized the Transport Workers Union that the tip-sharing policy was already in place when the union began representing Wynn dealers. Caesars dealers voted for union representation in December 2007.

He said the union wanted to reach an equitable settlement with Caesars Palace that would allow them to "build a relationship" with the casino. The Transport Workers Union represents dealers at Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas.

Dealers at Caesars Palace voted 305 to 2 to reject the contract offer, he said.

Separately, the Culinary expects contract negotiations with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to begin in May, if a recent vote on union representation succeeds. Culinary officials expected the counting of vote cards to be completed early next month. The $3.9 billion hotel-casino, which opened in December between Bellagio and CityCenter on the Strip, has about 5,000 workers.

About 2,000 employees, including housekeepers and food service workers, were eligible to participate in the vote, according to the union. The Culinary union represents approximately 60,000 private sector employees in Nevada.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

 

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