Station Casinos Holds Protest Outside Culinary Union, Las Vegas Labor Group Laughs It Off

Station Casinos staged a picket yesterday afternoon outside the Culinary Union’s downtown office in Las Vegas to voice the casino company’s frustrations with the labor group.

Station Casinos Culinary Union Las Vegas
Station Casinos Culinary Union Las Vegas
Station Casinos workers picket outside the Culinary Union office in Las Vegas on August 22, 2021. The staff members say their employee benefits are first-rate without the need of the casino labor union. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Roughly 100 Station Casinos employees, the majority being supervisors and management personnel, protested outside the Commerce St. union headquarters. The marchers wore “Respect the Votes” t-shirts and held signs reading messages such as “We Despise Union Lies,” “Local 226 Lie: Job Security — 307,000 Members — No Work/No Pay,” “Station Benefits: FREE Health Care, Medical Centers, Retirement Plan.”

An ongoing labor dispute between Station Casinos and the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 remains in legal limbo. The union claims the casino company has interfered with unionization efforts at as many as 10 properties, including Red Rock Resort, Boulder Station, and Palace Station.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is handling the case. In the meantime, a federal district court judge has ordered Station Casinos to begin early negotiations with the casino union, something the company says would result in “irreparable harm.”

As has already been reported, in the last year, a majority of Team Members at both Palace Station and Boulder Station flat-out rejected the Culinary Union. The Culinary Union has refused to accept that outcome and has filed charges with the NLRB to reverse the decisions,” a company statement declared.

“The Company demands that the Culinary Union respect and stop trying to overturn the wishes of the Palace and Boulder Team Members,” the release added.

Union Pans Picket

Station Casinos’ Sunday afternoon protest in scolding temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit was ridiculed by union leaders. Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, called the Station Casinos demonstration nothing more than a “publicity stunt.”

“It seems that Station Casinos is simply trying to bring public attention to the wide-ranging allegations of legal misconduct it faces,” Argüello-Kline opined. “In our nearly nine decades of organizing, the Culinary Union has never seen company managers or supervisors picket — especially on their day off when it is 99 degrees outside. We hope that they stay hydrated and cool today.”

Culinary spokesperson Bethany Kahn found the protest comical.

The Station protestors, however, found no humor in the demonstration.

“We’re here to send a message to the Culinary Union to leave us alone,” Hernan Andrade, director of internal maintenance at Red Rock Resort, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Team members are furious. They just don’t want a union.”

Station also rejected claims that the picket only included supervisors and management-level employees. Station said the march was accompanied by “hourly Team Members who have voluntarily joined the protest on their own time.”

Case Continues

The NLRB review essentially boils down to whether Station Casinos has repeatedly increased employee benefits at its casinos ahead of employee votes to unionize.

Culinary officials and NLRB Regional Director Cornele Overstreet argue that Station’s benefit bumps have wrongly influenced unionization vote outcomes. Overstreet also contends that Station Casinos “engaged in a scheme to use layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine unions representing or seeking to represent their employees.”

Station rejects those allegations, arguing that Overstreet is “biased and unfair” in her assessments.

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