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Las Vegas Casino Workers Vote to Authorize Strike

The Culinary Workers Union of Nevada has overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike if ongoing negotiations with local hotels and casinos break down. Casino workers met at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus to cast their votes on the issue and a whopping 95 percent of its 53,000 members voted affirmatively on the strike issue.

Though the vote does not mean that the workers actually will actually go on strike, it does turn up the temperature on what are already some pretty sticky negotiations. Among the issues the workers are asking for are increased wages and reduced workloads. Since the pandemic ended, housekeeping staff at casinos have seen the number of rooms they’re expected to clean in a single shift increase dramatically.

Union workers are also asking that a larger chunk of the casinos’ recent record-breaking profits trickles down their way. Negotiators point to the increased cost-of-living in Las Vegas, which was once very affordable, as a major pressure point for workers.

In a statement reported on by the Guardian, Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union summed up the situation saying, “As companies reduce labor, there are less workers who have even more responsibilities and are doing more work instead of spending quality time with their families, and that has to change. Workers have built this industry and made it successful and that’s why we are demanding that workers share in that prosperity.”

The Culinary Workers Union represents a large number of employees working on a number of contracts, many of which have been expired for months. Though the union has not set aside a potential strike date, both sides agree that they are from a resolution. The last time the union voted to authorize a strike, back in 2018, the hotels and casinos promoptly negotiated a new contract and avoided that wor