clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Las Vegas Strip Could Be the Site of the Largest Hospitality Strike in U.S. History

35,000 casino workers ready to walk off the job days before Las Vegas’s big Formula One race

Janna Karel is the Editor for Eater Vegas.

Tens of thousands of hospitality workers in Las Vegas may walk off the job this week if the Culinary and Bartenders Union is unable to strike a deal with casino, hotel, and restaurant employers for a new five-year contract before Friday morning. Culinary Workers Union Local 226, one of the largest and most powerful unions in the U.S., says that the strike, if it occurs, would be the largest hospitality worker strike in the country’s history.

A culinary union spokesperson says that 35,000 of its members are prepared to strike at 5 a.m. on Friday, November 10, if MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts, the three largest gaming employers in the state, fail to strike a deal before then. The labor group represents 60,000 workers across Nevada and, as of September 15, roughly 40,000 workers are working under an expired contract. In a statement, the union says it has been negotiating with employers for seven months but believes its workers deserve more than what companies are offering.

The strike would hit Las Vegas at an already chaotic time. Picket lines are planned at 45 locations along the Las Vegas Strip — an area currently being transformed into a massive racetrack ahead of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, which kicks off on November 15.

A racecar in front of the Bellagio Fountains.
Las Vegas Grand Prix Winner’s Stage at the Bellagio Fountain Club.
Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The move toward a strike is intended to put pressure on casinos to approve new five-year contracts that would include provisions such as expanded safety measures, health care, and the largest pay increase ever negotiated in the history of the union. If the strike goes into effect, it would mean tens of thousands of bartenders, cooks, cocktail and food servers, guest room attendants, porters, bellmen, laundry, and kitchen workers statewide would walk off the job — leading up to and potentially during the F1 race. The culinary union is asking the anticipated 120,000 race attendees not to cross picket or strike lines and to refrain from patronizing propers where there is a labor dispute.

Members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 picket on La Vegas Boulevard.
Members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 picket on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226

The union is currently making preparations to maintain a 24/7 strike at the 18 casinos, amassing protesting materials like signs and bullhorns, logistical supplies like portable bathrooms and sunscreen, and preparing striking workers to sign up for strike pay as well as shifts on the picket line. This latest wave of labor action comes in the wake of hospitality workers employed with MGM Grand Detroit going on strike in October.

On October 25, union members demonstrated on Las Vegas Boulevard and were detained following a planned civil disobedience demonstration. Two weeks before that, thousands of industry workers picketed in front of eight casinos.

Members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 picket on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 picket on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Culinary and bartenders unions are negotiating a new five-year contract with the following casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip:

  • MGM Resorts International: Aria Resort and Casino, Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Excalibur Hotel & Casino, Luxor Hotel, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, MGM Grand, New York-New York Hotel & Casino and Park MGM Las Vegas.
  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation: Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Horseshoe Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the Cromwell Las Vegas, and the LINQ Hotel + Experience.
  • Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort

Culinary and bartender unions are also negotiating a new five-year contract with the following casino resorts that are still under a contract extension:

  • Las Vegas Strip: Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, Hilton Grand Vacations, the Mirage, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Sahara Las Vegas, the Strat, Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Tropicana Las Vegas, Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
  • Downtown Las Vegas: Binion’s Gambling Hall, Circa Resort & Casino, Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino, El Cortez Hotel and Casino, Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Fremont Hotel & Casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel, The D Casino & Hotel, and Plaza Hotel & Casino.

MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Wynn Encore Resorts, and Formula One did not immediately respond to requests for comments.