Big Labor’s Vegas gamble

On the heels of the city of Detroit filing for bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Big Labor apparently has not learned its lesson. Union bosses played a pivotal role in Detroit’s demise making unreasonable salary and benefit demands that contributed to nearly $15 billion in unfunded liabilities.

One would think labor bosses would have used the experience to guide their thinking on how they deal with issues related to workers and the economy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Unsatisfied with having taken down the Motor City, once the fourth-largest in the country, union bosses have set their sights on Las Vegas.

Recently, Big Labor bosses in Vegas have made threats that unless they get their way on contract negotiations they will seek a city-wide strike. The Associated Press reported, “The Culinary Union has issued a written warning to Wall Street investors, saying a citywide strike by Las Vegas hotel workers is possible if contracts aren’t inked soon with two major companies. The union, which represents some 50,000 bartenders, maids and food servers, has been in negotiations with gambling giants MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. It says union workers are preparing for a ‘major labor dispute,’ and a strike is imminent unless solid contracts result soon from the negotiations.”

More threats, more economic uncertainty, and more demands for payback from union bosses at the expense of workers and business owners. In the last several years, Las Vegas and indeed Nevada have suffered mightily under the slow and stagnant economy. Nevada continues to have a staggeringly high unemployment rate with nearly 10 percent of people out of work. In addition, the state continues to have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

Yet, none of this deters Big Labor from seeking what it believes it is owed, damn the consequences. In a recent editorial, the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote, “This valley has suffered enough. If, as the union says, its proposals are aimed at the ‘long-term security of healthcare, pension and other benefits’ of members, then it will reverse course on its strike talk and instead start assuring visitors they can come to Las Vegas anytime and have a great time – no matter how long it takes the Culinary to get a deal done.”

The local Culinary Union Local 226 has a sordid past and has recently been engaged in acts that hurt tourism in the Silver State. For instance, they launched a travel alert site attempting to deter couples from getting married in Las Vegas. And to make matters worse, they are putting the screws to employers in Nevada to subsidize their own malfeasance and mismanagement.