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Howard Stutz

Caesars employees approve five-year contract with Culinary union

30 January 2014

LAS VEGAS -- About 13,000 Caesars Entertainment Corporation employees covered by Culinary Local 226 on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a five-year contract between the union and casino company.

A Caesars spokesman said 97 percent of the employees approved the agreement, which covers wages and benefits for many nongaming positions at the company’s Strip resorts, including food and beverage workers, guest room attendants, bell department, porters and others.

Only the now-closed Bill’s and The Quad were not covered by the new deal.

Caesars is the second major Strip resort company to agree to a new contract with the Culinary, the state’s largest labor union. In November, 21,000 MGM Resorts International workers approved a new five-year agreement.

In a statement, Culinary leadership said the newly approved economic package “mirrors exactly what has been agreed to by the unions and other employers.”

The MGM agreement did not call for a pay raise in the first year. However, the company agreed to pay an extra 35 cents per hour to the benefit package this year, and 50-cent and 55-cent hourly increases in years two and three.

The new economic package allows workers to keep their current health insurance and other benefits. Specific changes in food and beverage terms aim to provide necessary flexibility needed to reopen closed venues and bring workers back to their jobs. New measures in housekeeping create departmental language designed to increase job safety.

According to a document provided to MGM workers before the vote, the contract will reopen in the fourth and fifth years to discuss new benefit increases.

“Through negotiations, Caesars and the unions have worked together to reach an agreement that gives workers the opportunity to provide for their families,” Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline said in a statement. “The overwhelming support for the new contract shows members want a secure future with good jobs and strong benefits.”

Caesars Entertainment spokesman Gary Thompson said, “These agreements benefit all parties, and will enable us to work together to provide expanded job opportunities as Las Vegas continues to recover from the long recession.”

Contracts between the Culinary and its affiliated Bartenders Local 165 covering 40,000 workers expired on June 1. Culinary members voted in May to approve a 60 percent increase in dues to create a fund that would support workers in the event of a strike.

In addition to the MGM Resorts and Caesars properties, union contracts expired at properties controlled by Boyd Gaming Corp., the Tropicana Las Vegas, Riviera, Treasure Island, Golden Nugget, El Cortez, Stratosphere, D Las Vegas, Four Queens and the Golden Gate.

Union members have marched on the Strip on several occasions, but the target of the pickets has been The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where union and resort officials have been unable to come to agreement on a contract covering the resort’s noncasino workers.
Caesars employees approve five-year contract with Culinary union is republished from