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Culinary workers vote 99 percent for Caesars deal; MGM, Wynn vote next

Updated November 20, 2023 - 9:13 pm

Culinary Local 226 members at some of the largest Strip properties are expected to ratify contract agreements with three employers this week.

About 40,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas will participate in ratification votes for five-year contracts negotiated earlier this month, the union said.

Caesars Entertainment workers were the first to vote on Monday, voting 99 percent in favor to ratify the new five-year contract.

MGM Resorts workers will vote Tuesday and Wynn Resorts workers will vote Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters via Zoom on Monday, Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said the significant wage increases, guaranteed lower workloads, protections from job-replacing technology and career support are “historic” additions to the workers’ contracts.

“These are historic things that we’ve never achieved in the last 30 years of negotiations, so we’re very proud of that,” Pappageorge said.

Culinary officials said every worker will get a 10 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract, retroactive to June 1, with a 32-percent increase over the total life of the contract. The average worker earns about $26 an hour, including benefits. That figure is expected to reach $35 by the end of the five years.

The union said it would announce voting results at the end of each day. A simple majority vote ratifies the contract.

Culinary is in negotiations with 24 independent Strip and Downtown Las Vegas casino-resorts for new contracts there, where the union represents about 15,000 workers. Pappageorge said Monday that strike deadlines could be called for some independent Strip operators by the end of this year and possible strike deadlines could be called for downtown locations in January or February 2024.

“These companies, the first thing we always hear is that they’re not MGM, they’re not Caesars and they’re not Wynn Resorts,” Pappageorge said of the differences in negotiations with independent Strip operators. “However, we are expecting and we will negotiate the same economic package and the same contract.”

Downtown Las Vegas union members are expected to fight for a similar contract, but with lower wages than the Strip, he said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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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