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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Aladdin, Culinary to Begin Contract Talks

1 March 2005

Representatives of the Aladdin and Culinary Local 226 will begin negotiating a contract today that will cover about half of the Strip resort's total employees.

Sessions are scheduled for both today and Wednesday and are being planned through April if necessary, Aladdin spokeswoman Amy Sadowsky said.

The negotiations came about after a significant portion of the Strip resort's employees signed union authorization cards in December seeking representation by the state's largest labor organization.

A contract would cover more than 1,600 workers through the Culinary and its associate organization, Bartenders Local 165.

The Aladdin has been operating without a union contract and has been the focus of an ongoing battle with the union that began under the resort's previous ownership when the $1.4 billion property re-opened in 2000.

A Planet Hollywood-led investment group took control of the troubled hotel-casino Sept. 1 and launched a $500 million plan to resurrect the 2,567-room resort as Planet Hollywood.

The new ownership allowed employees to conduct a card check, in which more than 70 percent of the eligible employees signed authorization cards seeking union representation.

Employees who will be covered by the Culinary include: cocktail servers, bartenders, food servers, cooks, guest room attendants, stewards and porters.

Sadowsky said department heads from the hotel areas that will be covered by the union contract will participate in the negotiations.

The talks between the Aladdin and the Culinary will mark the first time that a nonunion resort has negotiated an agreement with the 50,000-member labor organization since 2001 when the Rio agreed to unionization.

Culinary leaders expect the Aladdin contract to largely mirror the agreements other Strip properties have in place, but it will also pertain specifically to the Aladdin's concerns.

Over the past few years, the union held numerous protests on the Strip seeking a contract with the Aladdin.

The Aladdin ownership bought the troubled resort for $637 million last year in bankruptcy court. The company, OpBiz, plans to initially spend $100 million next year renovating the gaming and shopping areas, eventually reconfiguring and renaming the resort as Planet Hollywood by early 2006.

The agreement with the Culinary doesn't cover the Desert Passage shopping mall.