STRIKE ALERT: Virgin Las Vegas casino ON STRIKE! Culinary Union maintains a 48-hour strike at Virgin Las Vegas May 10 to May 12 at 4:59am



Friday, May 10, 2024


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088

STRIKE ALERT: Virgin Las Vegas casino ON STRIKE!

Culinary Union maintains a 48-hour strike at Virgin Las Vegas from May 10 to May 12 at 4:59am

BROLL: Virgin Las Vegas ON STRIKE - Day 1

Las Vegas, NV -  For the first time in over 22 years, the Culinary Union has taken hospitality workers out on strike as workers continue pushing to win a new 5-year union contract at Virgin Las Vegas. A 48-hour strike at Virgin Las Vegas began Friday, May 10th at 5:00am as hundreds of workers walked off the job and onto the 24/7 picket line. The planned 48-hour strike will end Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12th at 4:59am. The strike, involving over 700 Virgin Las Vegas hospitality workers, marks a historic first for this property as it has never been subject to a Culinary and Bartenders Union strike. Main table negotiations with Virgin Las Vegas are scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. 

During a strike, the Culinary Union urges the community and customers to support workers, do *not* patronize any business or event on the property, and to avoid crossing strike lines to enter into the casino. The labor demonstration is a 48-hour complete work stoppage by unionized hospitality workers. When there is an active picket line outside of a casino, there is a labor dispute, and so the Culinary Union is urging customers to cancel their reservation, check out of the property, and choose a union accommodation.

“The contract at Virgin Las Vegas has been expired for nearly a year and even though we’ve been negotiating for over 5 months, there hasn’t been enough movement from the company on fair wage increases. The workers have been patient and have given the company plenty of time, but that time is up,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Workers need a raise and have been clear on what they deserve, but the company has been coming to the table with zeros for wages. That’s why until 4:59am on Mother’s Day, Virgin Las Vegas workers are sending a strong message that this company needs to do the right thing for their employees and our community. Culinary Union calls on Virgin Las Vegas to stop treating their workers as second-class, respect them, and agree that they are worth more than zero. Every casino on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas has already settled a fair contract and so this company is a total outlier and it’s disrespectful to the workers. We are also advising guests to avoid the Virgin Las Vegas for the duration of this 48-hour strike to not spend any money at an establishment that doesn’t value their workers. No contract? NO PEACE!”

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions strike has impacted all major areas of operations at Virgin Las Vegas, including housekeeping, food and beverage departments, and the following unionized restaurants: Casa Calavera, Funny Library Coffee Shop, Juice Bar, The Bar at Commons Club, The Kitchen at Commons Club, and The Shag Room. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (“Virgin Las Vegas”) is owned by JC Hospitality, LLC, in partnership with Juniper Capital Partners LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, Fengate Asset Management of Toronto, and the LiUNA Pension Fund of Easter and Central Canada.

“No one wants to be on strike, but we are on strike today because we are fighting for a better future for ourselves, our families, and our co-workers,” said Aaron Mahan, a food server at Virgin Las Vegas and Culinary Union member. “At negotiations, the company has offered zero in raises and we don’t feel respected. It doesn’t feel good that Virgin Las Vegas has forced us to strike to show that we are serious about not wanting to be treated as second-class. As I’m on strike, I especially think about the great cooks I work with - they don’t make tips like I do and they can’t survive only working one job unless we win raises, so that’s why I’m staying out on strike for the full 48-hours, because one job should be enough!”

The Culinary Union prepared for the strike by amassing supplies and materials to maintain the 24/7 strike stations with multiple picket lines around every entrance at Virgin Las Vegas. For weeks, the Culinary Union has been contacting locals, customers, investors, company board members and partners, regulators, and community allies about the increasing labor dispute at Virgin Las Vegas, and now 48-hour labor strike.

“I’m on strike because I’m fighting for me, my family, and my co-workers,” said Isabel Gonzalez, a guest room attendant at Virgin Las Vegas and Culinary Union member for 14 years. “I am on strike to win a great wage increases, health care, and job security for my family. My co-workers and I at Virgin Las Vegas are united to win higher wages and to get a contract so that one job should be enough.”

Last year, members of the Culinary and Bartenders Unions voted to authorize a Citywide Strike after tens of thousands of hospitality workers packed the Thomas and Mack Center in September 2023 to cast their votes. Contracts for over 50,000 workers have since been settled and workers have won the best contract ever. Contract negotiations for one casino property remains: The Virgin Las Vegas contract expired June 1, 2023. Initially, the casino was given a strike deadline extension of February 2nd, another extension to March 9th, and ultimately a strike was called for May 10th.

In negotiations, the Culinary and Bartenders Unions have been winning historic victories for workers including:

*Securing the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Culinary Union’s 89-year-history. The total compensation won by the Culinary Union for over 50,000 is approximately $3 billion over the total five-year contract. Every worker will be getting a 10% wage increase in the first year and a total of 32% in raises over the life of the new contract. The average Culinary Union member earned about $28 an hour (including their benefits) under the previous contract, and by the end of this new five-year contract, the average Culinary Union member will be earning about $37 an hour (including their benefits).

*Reducing workload and steep housekeeping room quotas, daily room cleaning, and establishing the right for guest room attendants to securely work in set areas.

*Providing the best on-the-job safety protections for all classifications, including safety committees, expanding the use of safety buttons to more workers, penalties if safety buttons don’t work, enforcing mandatory room checks for employee and public safety, and tracking sexual harassment, assault, and criminal behavior by customers.

*Strengthens existing technology protections to guarantee advanced notification when new technology is introduced (which would impact jobs) including technologies with artificial intelligence, increases service recognition pay and extended health care and pension fund contributions for workers who are laid off because of new technology, requires training for new jobs created by technology, introduces the right to bargain over technology that tracks the location of employees, requires notification and opportunity to bargain regarding data sharing, and establishes right to compensation for tipped employees if necessary infrastructure for technology fails resulting in a tipped employee who is unable to do their job.

*Extending recall rights so that workers have more job security and have the right to return to their jobs in the event of another pandemic or economic crisis for up to three-years.

*Making clear at MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment properties that the no-strike clause does not prevent the Culinary Union and its members from taking action, including picketing and leafleting in support of non-union restaurants at the Casinos; and allows non-union restaurant workers to leaflet in front of their venues inside the casino. At Wynn Resorts, making clear that the no-strike clause does not prevent the Culinary Union from taking action, including strikes, against non-union restaurants on the casino property, and gives casino workers the right to respect picket lines.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is the largest labor union in Nevada, and alongside the Bartenders Union Local 165, represents 60,000 guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry, and kitchen workers statewide.


Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America. 

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members, and their dependents.  

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.  

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 60% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples. 

Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry, and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting and winning for working families in Nevada for 89 years. / @Culinary226 


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