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National labor board orders Palms to negotiate with unions

Updated May 24, 2019 - 5:12 pm

The National Labor Relations Board issued a decision saying the Station Casinos-owned Palms is acting unlawfully.

The Palms repeatedly has appealed the results of an employee election in April 2018 that voted for union representation.

The board order, released May 13, found the Palms had refused to recognize and bargain with the Culinary and Bartenders unions and required that the company to cease and desist.

“Every time (Palms has appealed), the federal government has sided with the union. It’s made the case stronger that this is a fair election,” Culinary spokeswoman Bethany Khan said. “It’s time for the Palms to negotiate.”

Spokesperson Mike Britt from Station Casinos said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Lack of negotiations

In a two-day secret-ballot vote overseen by the NLRB in April 2018, 84 percent of 614 employees voted for union representation. But Station said that the union engaged in “objectionable conduct” during its campaign and appealed the election results.

The NLRB’s order said that since May 17, 2018, the Palms has “failed and refused to recognize and bargain” with the union, engaging in “unfair labor practices.” That comes about a year after the NLRB’s panel voted unanimously to give Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 — affiliates of UNITE HERE — the authority to represent about 900 workers at the property.

A representative from the National Labor Relations Board did not return a request for comment.

Khan said the order means Palms cannot change any working conditions for unionized employees without first bargaining. She said that includes several issues, including those related to uniforms, shifts and safety policies.

Melissa Zamarron, a buffet food server who has worked 18 years at the Palms, said she has been fighting to be unionized for the past four years.

She said she voted yes “because I want to be able to take care of my family with the union health plan,” according to a statement from Culinary, which represents about 60,000 casino workers in Southern Nevada.

Station Casinos is the third-largest gaming employer in the state, according to the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance

Contact Bailey Schulz at bchulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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