Steve Wynn offered a rare mea culpa on Thursday for his controversial tip pooling policy — but it wasn’t enough to carry the day in his effort to swing a union election over the weekend.
Full-time dealers at Wynn Las Vegas voted 444-149 on Saturday and Sunday in favor of being represented by the Transportation Workers Union of America. The election was sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Board.
Organized labor has had a difficult time making headway with dealers on the Strip. This successful vote will almost certainly energize similar efforts at other large properties.
The Wynn situation came to a head after management last year implemented a plan that forced dealers to pool their tips with supervisors. Some dealers said the arrangement cost them up to 20 percent of their income.
In a short speech to dealers last week just days before the union vote, Mr. Wynn acknowledged he had made a mistake.
“I got it wrong,” he said. “I hurt you and I apologize. … What this caused was the loss of the feeling of family warmth and happiness that we had here.”
Union dealers applauded Mr. Wynn — and then voted to unionize.
The tally not only highlighted the anger among dealers over the Wynn tip policy, it showcased the folly of congressional efforts to essentially eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns.
Democrats in the House have already passed legislation that would force companies to recognize a union based on a simple card-check system. The measure is pending in the Senate.
Supporters of the legislation argue that secret ballot elections are too cumbersome and that employees are often subject to management manipulation — never mind that card-check systems and intimidation go hand in hand. And never mind that several unions have lost secret ballot elections after collecting more than enough employee check-offs.
But the weekend election at Wynn Las Vegas proves that the secret ballot is fair and equitable — and that when given the opportunity go behind closed curtains, employees are perfectly capable of making rational decisions about whether to accept union representation.
The system ain’t broke.