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Howard Stutz

Culinary voting on dues increase for strike fund

21 May 2013

LAS VEGAS -- Culinary Union Local 226 members were voting Monday to increase dues for a worker strike fund, two weeks before contracts between Strip casino operators and the union expire.

Union members said the vote was just a precaution.

The union and representatives from MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have held two negotiating session and are continuing to have discussion toward a new five-year agreement.

The current contract for hotel and restaurant employees, which also covers members of Bartenders Local 165, expires June 1 at properties operated by MGM Resorts, Caesars and with downtown Las Vegas casinos. Contracts covering workers at the Tropicana, Riviera, LVH, Stratosphere and Treasure Island, are also expiring.

In a statement, the Culinary said its members have not voted to increase strike funds since 2006.

Should the measure pass, union dues would increase in the event of a strike or lockout in order to support strikers.

The last major strike on the Strip lasted almost six-and-a-half years at the New Frontier and ended in 1998.

Citywide negotiations affect over 40,000 Strip and downtown workers.