700 Union Workers at Virgin Hotels Casino Near Las Vegas Strip Launch 48-Hour Strike

Around 700 employees at a hotel-casino near the Las Vegas Strip, Virgin Hotels, went on strike at dawn on Friday. The workers, who have been trying to negotiate a new five-year contract for months, plan to strike for 48 hours, according to union organizers.

The Culinary Union, Nevada’s largest labor union, stated that this is their first strike in 22 years. Although the union had authorized a citywide strike last year, they managed to reach agreements with all major hotel-casinos on the Strip and most downtown and off-Strip properties, covering around 50,000 workers.

The striking workers include guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. They formed a picket line in front of Virgin Hotels, formerly known as Hard Rock Las Vegas.

Virgin Hotels lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, accusing the union of not negotiating in good faith. The hotel stated that union officials were engaged in “unlawful ‘take it or leave it’ bargaining.”

The hotel-casino is a significant landmark in Las Vegas due to its proximity to the Strip and the airport. The last time Culinary Union members went on strike was in 2002 at the Golden Gate hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, union members at other Las Vegas properties secured deals that gave them a roughly 32% salary increase over five years. Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, expressed hope that the 48-hour strike would speed up negotiations for wage and benefit increases at Virgin Hotels.

Pappageorge dismissed the complaint to the NLRB as a company stunt and criticized Virgin Hotels for waiting until the eve of the strike to engage in discussions.

Source: abcnews.go.com

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