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Culinary to focus on MGM after Caesars workers OK contract

The Culinary union will shift its focus to the ratification of a contract with MGM Resorts International Tuesday, now that Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s union workers have overwhelmingly approved a new five-year deal.

Union officials said late Thursday that 99 percent of the vote taken at two sessions backed the new contract that increases pay and addresses worker safety issues and aspects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Union officials did not disclose the final count or how many ballots were cast, saying “thousands” voted. The union represents about 12,000 Caesars employees working at Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, The Linq Hotel and Caesars Palace, including Nobu. The deal, which is retroactive to June 1, also applies to the off-Strip Rio.

The union also didn’t provide details of the contract after earlier saying it would disclose them after the vote. The union later said provisions are similar to those in the MGM contract under consideration next week.

Another 38,000 union workers have yet to approve contracts since their current deals expired June 1.

The union is now negotiating contracts with smaller companies that operate 15 properties on and off the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas, including the Westgate, Tropicana, Treasure Island and The D. Union negotiators reportedly met Thursday with the Golden Nugget management.

Union officials have said the new Caesars agreement is the best contract they’ve ever had with unspecified pay increases and language that protects the workers’ rights in the event a property is sold.

It also requires all housekeepers be given a wireless device that would allow them to alert security if they are facing a threat.

Under the contract, workers who lose their work permit and are later able to readjust their immigration status would be allowed to get back their casino jobs and seniority.

The average worker on the Las Vegas Strip currently makes about $23 an hour, including benefits such as premium-free health care, a pension and a 401(k) retirement plan.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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