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LAS VEGAS -- A third meeting between a federal mediator and representatives of the Mandalay Resort Group and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501 is expected to take place after Thanksgiving in an effort to resolve a months-long contract dispute. The two sides met 12 hours Friday and Nov. 8 with a federal mediator in an effort to break a deadlock that began at the end of March when the union's contract covering 320 workers at three Mandalay properties -- Circus Circus, Luxor and Excalibur -- expired.
In September, union members voted 155-67 to authorize a strike against the properties. George Scott, a business representative for Local 501, said Wednesday the union asked for federal mediation to avert a walkout and try to resolve the issues that revolve around wages and benefits.
"We met twice, but because of a media blackout imposed by the mediator, I can't discuss the nature of the talks," Scott said.
"Needless to say, I'm hopeful we'll have additional talks."
Even though the strike vote was taken, the union agreed to extend the expired contract while negotiations continued. Mandalay has proposed a two-tier wage and benefits structure, with the first tier covering current employees and the second tier covering new hires.
According to the union, the company is seeking what amounts to a $3 an hour wage rollback for new workers, which would be a first on the Strip. Scott said current workers make $21 an hour.
Earlier this year, Local 501 completed contract negotiations for a new five-year agreement with other properties covered by the contract, which are Bally's, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah's Las Vegas, the Jockey Club, Las Vegas Hilton, Riviera, Sahara and Tropicana.
None of those contracts, Scott said, called for a pay rollback or a two-tier wage scale. He said the 780 Local 501 workers at the other properties agreed to about $4.30 an hour increase in wages and benefits.
Mandalay Resort Group spokesman Mike Sloan declined to comment on the negotiations. The mediator did not return phone calls.
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