Roughly 50,000 Las Vegas casino workers could go on strike next month if employers and union negotiators do not agree on new contracts by the end of May.
About 99 percent of the 25,000 members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions who voted Tuesday chose to strike to pressure employers into providing higher pay, better benefits and protection from automation, according to a Culinary Union press release.
“We want to come to an agreement, but the union and workers are preparing for a citywide strike if contracts are not settled by June 1,” union secretary and treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said in a statement. “We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs. Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch.”
The strike could affect 34 casino resorts located on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. It would be the first citywide strike in more than three decades.
The last large gaming industry strike in 1984 lasted 67 days and cost union members about $75 million in lost wages and benefits. The city lost a similar amount in tourism while the local casinos lost millions more in forgone revenue, The Associated Press reported.
Union members voted in 2002 to initiate a citywide strike, but employers and unions reached an agreement before the strike took place, ABC News 13 reported.
“I don’t want to go on strike, but I will,” MGM Resorts employee Adela Montes de Oca said, according to the press release. “The company is more profitable than ever because of the hard work we do, and I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that we have a fair share of that success.”
“As we continue to bargain in good faith, we are confident that we’ll resolve contract issues and negotiate a contract that works for everyone,” MGM said in a statement, according to NBC News.
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