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48-hour strike planned at off-Strip resort

Updated May 9, 2024 - 9:31 am

Hospitality workers at an off-Strip casino plan to walk off the job for two days after lengthy contract negotiations continue, union officials said Wednesday.

Culinary Local 226 members at Virgin Hotels are the last workers in the resort corridor to not strike a deal with their employer. While most downtown and off-Strip properties reached agreements with the union in early February — when the union used the upcoming Super Bowl as leverage — the Feb. 5 strike deadline was called off at Virgin Hotels and the union agreed to give management at the roughly 1,500-room property more time to reach a deal.

But negotiations have continued with no progress, according to the union. They called for a 48-hour labor strike affecting about 700 unionized hospitality workers beginning at 5 a.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s been nearly one year since the contract at Virgin Las Vegas expired on June 1, 2023 and workers are still working without a contract, that’s why the Culinary Union has called for a 48-hour strike at the Virgin Las Vegas and urge the community and customers to not cross the strike line,” Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the union, said in a Wednesday news release. “Workers at Virgin Las Vegas deserve fair wage increases and they are organized and ready to strike for it. As Virgin Las Vegas workers go on strike on Friday, May 10th, the Culinary Union has their back every step of the way and we will win.”

Representatives for Virgin Hotels did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an interview before the announcement, Virgin President Cliff Atkinson said the newly announced changes to casino operations would not affect hospitality workers and that labor negotiations with Culinary continue in good faith.

Union officials say the next main table negotiations are scheduled for Tuesday.

If a weekend strike occurs, union workers that would walk off include guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. Casino workers, like table games dealers, are not part of the union.

The union said a strike would also impact unionized restaurants on site: Casa Calavera, Funny Library Coffee Shop, Juice Bar, The Bar at Commons Club, The Kitchen at Commons Club, and The Shag Room.

The union previously said it extended negotiations past February with Virgin because of the property’s finances. New management took over the property, formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, and rebranded it to Virgin Hotels in March 2021.

The most recent Culinary strike was in 2002, the union said. Then, workers at Golden Gate casino in downtown Las Vegas walked off the job for 10 days before reaching a new contract deal.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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