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Culinary ratifies deals for 32 percent wage hikes with Caesars, MGM and Wynn

Following the ‘overwhelming’ approval, the union has entered into contract talks with operators of 24 resorts for 15,000 non-gaming employees.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
EconomyGaming
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New five-year collective bargaining agreements with a cumulative 32 percent wage increase were overwhelmingly ratified before Thanksgiving by some 40,000 non-gaming Strip employees, ending a prolonged contract stalemate that lasted more than seven months and averting a potential strike on the eve of last week’s Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Culinary Workers Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge praised the contracts with Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts as “securing billions [of dollars] for working families in Nevada.”

Members of Bartenders Local 165, an affiliated labor organization, are also covered by the new contracts. 

Pappageorge said workers will receive a 10 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract and a combined 32 percent raise over the life of the deal, raising the average wage to $37 per hour. The total compensation for workers at the three companies will be $2 billion over the five years, the union said.

“We recognize the largest private employers in Nevada for doing the right thing and investing in the frontline workers who make the entire industry run successfully,” Pappageorge said in a statement.

The agreements expired at the end of May and were extended until September when the union called for a strike authorization vote, which was overwhelmingly approved.

Caesars, the first company to reach a tentative agreement on Nov. 8, saw a ratification vote by 10,000 workers on Monday. MGM Resorts’ 25,400 union employees ratified the contract on Tuesday by a similar margin, with Wynn Resorts’ 5,000 workers following through with a ratification vote on Wednesday.

The Culinary did not release vote totals but said all three companies saw 99 percent of the voting members approve the agreements.

The unions said they are still negotiating on a new five-year deal with the operators of 24 Strip, off-Strip and downtown resorts, including four non-gaming hotels, covering 15,000 hospitality workers.

In addition to wage and benefit increases, the contracts also include workload reductions for guest room attendants, the reinstatement of daily hotel room cleaning, increased safety protections for workers on the job and expanded technology contract language.

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