Culinary Local 226 Union pickets at Station Casinos head office seeking ”good faith” bargaining

Picketers from the Culinary union, partners from the Nevada AFL-CIO, and current and former Station Casinos employees tried to capture the public’s attention outside of Station Casinos’ corporate headquarters in Las Vegas on Thursday. The picketers called the operator of Red Rock Resort, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch Resort, and other properties “unfair,” while the Station Casino spread banners across the company’s building boasting as a top gaming employer offering family health benefits not ready to accept the union’s requests.

Judge ordered contract closure:

The picket was initiated by Culinary Local 226 in an attempt to draw attention to the union’s efforts to close a first-time union contract for the casino company’s employees. The union has been trying to get representation votes at several Station Casinos properties since 2016. As a result, the National Labor Relations Board judge ordered Red Rock Resorts, the parent company of Station Casinos, to negotiate a deal with the unions in April 2022.

Reason for the picket:

The union confirmed that the discussions are held at some of the Station Casinos properties, but claimed that the company lacks ”good faith” in these negotiations, which was the reason for the picket. “It’s really a shame that this company claims to be a beneficial part of this community to take on its workers like this,” said Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge.

Pappageorge added: “We would say that they should sit down and negotiate a fair contract and allow these workers to have job security and the same standard set the rest of the workers in this town have.”

Hiring priority and job security:

Union members say they want the hiring priority for the laid-off workers against the new candidates in case of permanent property closures. The company argued that a third of employees were retained in individual cases, with job fairs held for the others who wanted to get back to the company. However, some workers said that the new candidates were favored in their cases.

The same happened during the pandemic shutdowns, according to Maria Balandran, a former buffet cook assistant at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, who lost her job when she wanted to return to work after the shutdown. “I felt bad because I’m a single mom, and my family depends on me. I spent all these years working for them, and they didn’t care about us. They didn’t have a heart because they left all these people out, ” Balandran said and added:

”We just want to go back to our jobs. It’s not fair for the new people to start working and all the people who had seniority were left out.” The union also requested the same benefits for union and nonunion workers in the company, equal training opportunities, and a job security package in line with other Culinary union members in Las Vegas.

The company claims harassment:

Station Casinos said that it supported its employees, even during the pandemic-induced closures, with benefits packages that included free family health insurance for workers that make less than $100,000 and access to free medical and planned dental centers.

Red Rock Resorts spokesman Michael Britt said that the assignment of these benefits to the union-represented must be the subject of a negotiation process.“The Culinary Union’s longstanding attempts to harass, intimidate and bully Station Casinos, its Team Members and its business partners and associates will not succeed,” stated Britt. “The union is rapidly losing support and it is because of the following facts.

Ready to persist:

But the union leaders are ready to persist in the campaign. Pappageorge confirmed:  “We’ve been at the Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission, every meeting for the last year. There really needs to be more action taken against this company, and we’re gonna fight until there’s real justice.” 

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