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Las Vegas casino workers picket Palms, call for negotiation

June 27, 2019
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Union workers protest in front of the Palms casino-resort, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Las Vegas. Members of a powerful Las Vegas casino workers union and other hospitality workers picketed outside the Palms, which has refused to bargain with the union. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — More than 1,000 members of a powerful Las Vegas casino workers union and other hospitality workers picketed Wednesday evening outside the Palms casino-resort, where owners have refused to bargain with the union.

The workers, chanting and carrying signs that said, “No contract. No peace,” called for Palms owner Station Casinos to negotiate with employees, who voted in April 2018 to unionize.

The company challenged the election’s result, but the National Labor Relations Board determined the company has been “failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith” with the Culinary Union.

The Palms, located west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of six Station Casinos-owned properties in Las Vegas where workers have voted to unionize in recent years.

The Culinary Union represents about 900 porters, food servers, bartenders and other workers at the Palms, which is undergoing a $690 million renovation.

Culinary Union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said Station Casinos is disrespecting workers by refusing to come to the bargaining table and the union won’t stop until they negotiate.

Jose Luis Cuevas, a porter at the Palms, said he’s worked at the casino for 11 years and wants to get better benefits.

“The most important, we need job security for our families, our kids,” he said. “Right now, they can kick you out any time.”

As part of the dispute, the union in March picketed outside the restaurants of celebrity chefs and business partners of Station Casinos in eight cities across the U.S.

The company, which operates more than 10 casino-hotels in and around Las Vegas, also has clashed with the Culinary Union at its Green Valley Ranch casino-resort in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson.

Workers there voted to unionize in November 2017. A year later, federal labor regulators found that the company “engaged in unfair labor practices” by refusing to bargain with the Green Valley Ranch employees.

“With respect to both Palms and Green Valley Ranch, although the union would clearly prefer that we not exercise our legal right to challenge the NLRB’s decisions regarding those properties in the United States federal courts, we have every right to do so and our challenges are both legal and appropriate,” Michael Britt, a senior vice president for Station Casinos’ parent company, Red Rock Resorts, said in a statement.

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