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Talks at 5 Vegas casinos may avert planned strike

  • Article by: MICHELLE RINDELS
  • Associated Press
  • May 30, 2014 - 5:10 PM

LAS VEGAS — A strike planned for the weekend at downtown Las Vegas casinos is looking less likely after a fifth holdout property struck a deal with unions and last-minute negotiations were scheduled at all others without a contract.

The culinary and bartender unions announced Friday that they struck a preliminary five-year deal with The D casino and will not picket there Sunday as planned. Negotiations are scheduled Friday with Four Queens, Binion's and Golden Gate, and Saturday with Las Vegas Club and the Plaza hotel.

"We're hopeful that we can get settlements," said Bethany Khan, a spokeswoman for the unions, which have a combined membership of about 55,000. "But we've got the signs, the schedules are in place, and the trucks are ready."

More than 1,000 workers still do not have a contract and will walk off the job at 5 a.m. local time Sunday if the matter is not resolved by then. Organizers have been scheduling members to man the picket lines, preparing signs and planning how to feed, water and caffeinate the protesters in the event of a strike.

Contracts with the unions, which include restaurant workers, hotel housekeepers, cocktail servers, bartenders and others, expired citywide on June 1, 2013.

Big-name casino operators on the Las Vegas Strip, including MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp., previously reached new five-year contracts with the unions.

The agreements specified raises, kept employees' health care costs from increasing, included provisions for more flexible scheduling and aimed to bring back workers laid off from shuttered eateries during the recession.

Contracts also might deal with dress codes, visa policies and other issues.

If a strike occurs this weekend, it will be the unions' first since 2002, when workers picketed the Golden Gate casino for nine days. The unions' most famous strike started in 1991 at the Frontier casino and lasted six years, four months and 10 days.

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