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Arnold M. Knightly

Culinary unstirred by Trop proposal

3 December 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The parent company of the Tropicana on Friday submitted a contract proposal to replace the Culinary union's health and pension plans and other parts of the union's traditional contract.

Culinary Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer D. Taylor said the union's negotiating committee will analyze the proposal and prepare a counter-proposal before the two sides meet next on Jan. 10.

"We'll analyze it, but no one around that table appears to be the least bit interested in their proposal at this time," he said.

It was the first negotiation between the Tropicana and the Culinary union and Bartenders Local 165 in three months and only the second time the two groups have met since May.

Taylor said the company's proposal included provisions to eliminate the provisions guaranteeing a full-time workweek and allowing the use of part-time workers who would not get union benefits. The proposal also seeks to replace the union's pension plan with a 401(k) plan, he said.

"We asked them a lot of questions on some of their proposals, and they were unable to give us answers," he said. "On the surface, it looks like people could pay up to $500 per month for family coverage."

Attorneys for the Tropicana did not reply to a request for comment by press time.

The Tropicana, which has nearly 750 workers covered by the two unions, is the last Strip property without a new contract. The workers have been working on extended contracts since the previous agreement expired May 31.

Separately, closing arguments in relicensing hearings for the Tropicana in Atlantic City will continue Tuesday before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. State casino regulators extended the license, which was scheduled to expire Friday, until next week with a final vote by the five-member commission expected by next Friday.