Decision won’t end dispute over Wynn Las Vegas tip policy

Last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not review Wynn Las Vegas’ long-running tip-sharing case was regarded by many as a victory for the casino’s dealers.

In reality, it’s just another stop on the tortuous road that casino management and employees have traveled since the tip policy was first announced in 2006.

The case now goes back to District Court for hearings before Judge Robert Jones. In the meantime, it’s possible that references to the policy might show up in federal or state legislation or might become a part of a collective bargaining agreement when Wynn dealers negotiate a union contract due to expire in 2020.

Wynn Las Vegas is the only casino to have a policy in place that shares tips collected by dealers with their pit supervisors, who get 15 percent. It was announced in August 2006 and put in place a month later because Wynn’s high-end customers tend to tip more than at other resorts. As a result, dealers were taking home more than their bosses.

Rather than pay pit bosses more, then-CEO Steve Wynn opted to split tokes earned by the front-line employees with their overseers. Moreover, it was the supervisors who counted the nightly tip revenue to split, and the front-liners had no idea whether that count was accurate.

The plan angered dealers so much that they opted to be represented by the Transport Workers Union in May 2007 — despite Steve Wynn pleading with workers to not organize. It took until November 2010 to draft the dealers’ initial contract, and it didn’t address the tip policy because the issue was so contentious.

It’s hard to say how much of the money was given to the supervisors, but Joshua Buck of Thierman Buck LLP, the law firm representing the estimated 800 current and former dealers, said that over the nearly 12-year life of the policy, the total could reach $50 million.

A dealer union representative, Kanie Kastroll, said she believes the policy has cost her at least $150,000.

The best dealers can do is collect lost compensation since May 2011.

Now that the Supreme Court has rejected a hearing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court’s February 2016 decision remanding the case to Clark County is in play.

Ruben Garcia, co-director of the UNLV Workplace Law Program and a professor specializing in employment law, said after the Supreme Court announcement that legal interpretations of employment law under the Obama administration are different from those under the Trump administration.

One of the issues: whether the pit bosses technically are supervisors. Garcia noted that Congress and the Nevada Legislature could try to clarify terms with new legislation.

“The recent budget reconciliation had a provision in it that said the tips are the property of the employee, so that answers some questions about this,” Garcia said in a telephone interview. “In other words, the tips can’t be shared by supervisors. Remember, the issue that went up to the Nevada Supreme Court (in 2013) was that under state law, the question has been, ‘Are these really supervisors?’

“There’s a whole different determination now under federal law whether these floor managers are actually supervisors under federal law, in which case the new law would prevent that kind of pooling,” he said. “It doesn’t deal with co-employees per se, but as long as you decide they’re supervisors, federal law would make that a violation.”

There’s also a new top executive at Wynn, and dealers have called on CEO Matt Maddox to end the policy and settle the existing lawsuit against the company.

But it doesn’t appear that’s going anywhere.

“We will vigorously defend our position and anticipate a finding in our favor,” a company spokesman said after the Supreme Court announcement.

With all the new court hearings and the possibility of legislative changes in the months ahead, it might take until 2020, when the current 10-year dealer contract ends, to resolve the issue.

That’s the year Wynn projects its new convention center and Paradise Park lagoon amenities to open.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like