Hockey Pros Choose Workers Over Cups
Even though the Caeser's contract is settled in Las Vegas, strike still looms at MGM during Stanley Cup finals
The Las Vegas Knights, an expansion NHL team, are in their first Stanley Cup finals. On Thursday, June 7th, Game 5 of the series will be held in Las Vegas, but fans may have nowhere to stay as the union representing workers at the major hotels and casinos are threatening to strike.
A contract between the 50,000 members of the Culinary Workers Union and MGM, Harrah’s and a number of other casinos expired at 12 AM on June 1st. Last week, the members of the union overwhelmingly voted to strike if a deal could not be reached. Facing a possible strike that could cost their casinos $5 million a day, Caesar’s negotiated through the night, finally reaching a tentative agreement with the union at 2:00 AM. The 5-year deal will cover about 12,000 workers at casinos like Caesars Palace and Harrah’s. This still leaves 38,000 employees without a contract. While the union says that striking is a last resort if negotiations don’t go well with MGM, which employs 24,000 Culinary Union members, hotels like New York and Luxor could face a strike.
With an event like the Stanley Cup coming to Las Vegas for the first time, a lot of tourists are expected to flood into the city. While there is a lot of pressure on the union to not shut down the city, the Culinary Workers got an important letter of support from the NHL Players Association (NHLPA). The letter was written by Donald Fehr, the Executive Director of the NHLPA, and he expressed his support for the two sides reaching a fair agreement quickly.
The support of the NHLPA gives the Culinary Workers Union even more leverage in their negotiations. Usually, a major sporting event like the Stanley Cup will bring about 80,000 to 100,000 people to Sin City. MGM is now stuck deciding whether they want to hold out and face a strike that could send 10’s of thousands of gamblers to their competitors.
The Culinary Workers say that they will continue to negotiate with MGM and the other casinos whose contracts have expired, but if negotiations break down they are willing to walk out.