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Widespread pickets planned in support of Las Vegas union

By REGINA GARCIA CANOMarch 20, 2019
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FILE - In this May 22, 2018 file photo, Culinary Union members exit a university arena after voting on whether to authorize a strike in Las Vegas. Hospitality workers around the country will picket the restaurants of celebrity chefs and offices other business partners of a Las Vegas-based casino operator that has refused to bargain with a union. The Culinary Union on Tuesday. March 19, 2019 said the picketing workers in San Francisco, Cleveland and other cities will demand that Station Casinos begin contract negotiations with employees of the Palms casino-resort. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)
1 of 3
FILE - In this May 22, 2018 file photo, Culinary Union members exit a university arena after voting on whether to authorize a strike in Las Vegas. Hospitality workers around the country will picket the restaurants of celebrity chefs and offices other business partners of a Las Vegas-based casino operator that has refused to bargain with a union. The Culinary Union on Tuesday. March 19, 2019 said the picketing workers in San Francisco, Cleveland and other cities will demand that Station Casinos begin contract negotiations with employees of the Palms casino-resort. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Hospitality workers in at least eight cities across the U.S. will picket starting Wednesday outside restaurants of celebrity chefs and offices of other business partners of a Las Vegas-based casino operator that has refused to bargain with a union.

The picketing workers in San Francisco, New Haven, Connecticut, and other cities will demand that Station Casinos begin contract negotiations with employees of the Palms casino-resort who voted in April in favor of unionizing, the Culinary Union said Tuesday. The union represents more than 50,000 workers, including housekeepers, bartenders and food servers, in Las Vegas and was selected by Palms employees as their representative.

Patrons of chef Michael Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ restaurant in Cleveland and a location of the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan dim sum restaurants in New York may encounter picketers over the next few days. Workers will also protest outside a private equity firm and a law firm.

“The federal government has certified our union as the bargaining representative after a free and fair election in which workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of representation,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said in a statement Tuesday. “We call on the Palms to begin contract negotiations immediately.”

Lori Nelson, vice president of corporate communications at Station Casinos, declined to comment on the planned pickets.

The workers at the Palms voted to unionize by 84 percent April 28. The company then challenged the election’s result. The National Labor Relations Board has since determined the company has been “failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith” with the union.

The property west of the Las Vegas Strip is undergoing a $690 million renovation. The overhaul of the property includes an outpost of Symon’s barbecue restaurant, as well as a dayclub and nightclub amphitheater-style complex that will be home to Cardi B’s first Las Vegas residency starting this spring.

Station Casinos operates more than 10 casino-hotels in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. This is not the company’s only clash with the union.

Labor regulators in November found that the company had “engaged in unfair labor practices” by refusing to bargain with the union for a contract for workers at the Green Valley Ranch casino-resort. Those workers voted to unionize in November 2017.

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

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