(MENAFN) In a significant development, Las Vegas hotel union workers have voted overwhelmingly to approve their contract agreement with Caesars Entertainment, marking the resolution of lengthy labor disputes that had raised the specter of a historic strike on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. The Culinary Workers Union announced on Monday that 99 percent of the vote favored the new five-year deal.
The breakthrough deals with Caesars Entertainment were tentatively reached earlier this month, narrowly averting the threat of a massive walkout at 18 hotel-casinos on the Strip, including prominent establishments like Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, MGM Grand, and Caesars Palace. The Culinary Workers Union is also expected to approve its proposed contracts with Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International, the largest employer on the Strip, later this week.
Ted Pappageorge, the union's chief negotiator, highlighted the commitment and sacrifices made by the workers during seven months of negotiations. He mentioned that workers were willing to take a pay cut if the union had proceeded with the strike, emphasizing their dedication to securing historic pay raises, housekeeping workload reductions, and improved job security amid technological advancements.
Pappageorge, a former union hospitality worker who went on strike in 1991, expressed gratitude to the workers for their participation in various activities such as rallies, protests, civil disobedience, picketing, surveys, picket sign making, strike votes, and delegations inside the properties. The union has a history of enduring one of the longest strikes in U.S. history, lasting more than six years, which ended with all strikers returning to their jobs with back pay and benefits.
In the current negotiations, the Culinary Workers Union has achieved a 32 percent pay increase for its members over five years, with a substantial 10 percent pay bump in the first year of the new contract. The contracts cover more than 35,000 employees at properties along the Strip owned or operated by Caesars, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts. By the end of the contract, union workers are expected to earn an average of $35 per hour, including benefits, compared to the current average of $26 per hour with benefits.
Pappageorge extended thanks to the casino companies for "doing the right thing" and investing in frontline workers who play a crucial role in the successful operation of the industry. The resolution of these labor disputes brings relief to the hospitality sector in Las Vegas and averts the potential disruptions of a large-scale strike during the holiday season.
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