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Strike averted on Monday in Las Vegas as culinary union makes progress in negotiations

A large group of union workers sit in a circle in the middle of the street on Las Vegas Boulevard. All of them are wearing red shirts, and the circle takes up about one land of traffic. A large crowd is on the sidewalks waving signs supporting the union.
Yvette Fernandez
A group of union workers stage a protest and block a portion of Las Vegas Boulevard in late 2023, Though the culinary union has made progress in signing deals with several casinos — including the "Big 3" of Wynn Resorts, MGM International, and Caesars Entertainment — there are still several properties they're negotiating with.

With the Super Bowl less than a week away and President Joe Biden visiting Las Vegas, the Culinary Union announced it made more progress in its negotiations and averted a strike on Monday.

The original strike was supposed to take place on Friday. About a half-dozen resort / casinos still hadn't reached deals by then, but the union decided to postpone its planned strike to Monday. Then, deals were reached with several of those hotels over the weekend, including with the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino.

Only one major resort hasn't settled with the Culinary Union — Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. But a union spokesperson said it expects a resolution on a new contract in a few weeks.

The Culinary Union says it’s proud of what it has been able to achieve, calling their new five-year contract with all employers “historic.”

"These were tough negotiations and it took over two years of preparation, 10 months of negotiations, lots of hard work, committee meetings, sleepless nights, and worker-led organizing," Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said in a statement Monday. "No victory in our union’s history is ever guaranteed and thousands of workers who participated in rallies, protests, civil disobedience, picketing, surveys, picket sign making, strike voting, and delegations inside the properties sacrificed to win a better future for themselves and our families."

The union's contract expired last summer. Since then, new contracts were negotiated with several casinos, including the "Big Three": Caesars, Wynn, and MGM. Last Thursday, deals were made with Circa, The D, and Golden Gate Vegas, covering more than 780 hospitality workers.

Over the weekend, union members had been making picket signs with the names of each employer that has not signed a new contract and planned a 36-hour "continuous picketing" event at all of those properties, starting Friday morning.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.