Las Vegas casinos brace for possible workers strike

REUTERS/Richard Brian 

Tens of thousands of Las Vegas casino employees could walk off the job for the first time in more than three decades after union members voted Tuesday to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1.

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About 25,000 members of the Culinary Union who work at 34 different casino-resorts across the tourist destination cast ballots in two sessions, showing the collective power of the largest labor organization in Nevada. The move hands union negotiators a huge bargaining chip as they work to solidify five-year contracts, according to the Associated Press.

The last strike, in 1984, spanned 67 days and cost the city and workers tens of millions of dollars.

The union last voted for a strike in 2002, but reached a deal before employees walked out.

The latest strike would mean losing workers with roles critical to making a casino-hotel run: bartenders, housekeepers, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and other kitchen workers.

It would affect properties including Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Stratosphere, The D and El Cortez.

The contracts of 50,000 unionized workers are set to expire at midnight May 31.

Negotiations with individual casinos have not led to agreements for new terms.

Union officials want to increase wages, protect job security against the increasing use of technology at hotel-casinos, and strengthen language against sexual harassment.