MGM Resorts, two unions agree on new contract

Two unions and 10 Strip properties operated by MGM Resorts International have reached agreement on a new five-year contract that will be voted on by workers today.

The new contract involving Culinary Local 226, Bartenders Local 165, and MGM Resorts covers more than 21,000 jobs at Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus Las Vegas, Slots A Fun, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York-New York.

According to a statement from the culinary union, several of the economic terms and provisions would be applied to about 5,000 additional union positions at MGM Grand’s Signature Towers and Vdara at CityCenter, properties whose contracts expire at other times.

Employee positions covered under the contract include food and beverage workers, guest room attendants, bell department, porters and others.

Financial details of the contract agreement were not released.

The deal between MGM Resorts and the unions is the first new contract to be reached since citywide contracts expired June 1.

Union members and MGM Resorts officials said the agreement was reached following an 18-hour negotiating session Nov. 5 at the Culinary Academy.

MGM Resorts Vice President of Public Affairs Gordon Absher said the contract agreement was “the result of months of hard work and frank, honest discussion of difficult topics.”

Absher said the company and the union crafted “a fair contract” that addresses a difficult economy and works for both sides.

“We commend the union and its leaders for their continued partnership and the open, forward thinking that allowed these long discussions to come to this successful conclusion,” Absher said. “We look forward to the results of Wednesday’s ratification vote.”

Culinary members will vote on the contract in two shifts; between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Results of vote will not be released until Thursday morning.

In a statement released by the union, Bellagio housekeeper Patricia Lindsey, a member of the contract committee said the agreement “protects benefits and gives workers the opportunity to provide for their families. It shows both sides are committed to making Vegas a good place to work and visit.”

The culinary had stepped up the rhetoric in recent months, warning of the first citywide strike by hotel workers since 1984.

Earlier this year, the union created a website warning tourists and convention planners of potential issues on the Strip. In September, culinary researchers sent a report to the investment community threatening that a strike by 44,000 workers against hotels operated by MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Corp. was brewing.

Caesars Entertainment spokesman Gary Thompson said his company’s talks with the union were “ongoing.” Culinary contracts with Caesars also cover 10 Strip resorts.

Earlier this month, Union Gaming Group analyst Robert Shore suggested a deal between the union and MGM Resorts could help speed up talks between the unions and Caesars, which have moved at a slower pace.

Union members have marched on the Strip on several occasions, but the target of the pickets has been The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where union and resort officials have been unable to come to agreement on a contract covering the resort’s noncasino workers.

Culinary members voted in May to approve a 60 percent increase in dues to create a fund that would support workers in the event of a strike.

In addition to the MGM Resorts and Caesars properties, union contracts have expired at properties controlled by Boyd Gaming Corp., the Tropicana, Riviera, Treasure Island, Golden Nugget, El Cortez, Stratosphere, D Las Vegas, Four Queens and the Golden Gate.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.


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