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MGM workers cast 99 percent of votes for Culinary union contract

Updated November 21, 2023 - 8:50 pm

Union members at MGM Resorts International voted 99 percent in favor of a new five-year contract with the Strip’s largest employer during a Tuesday vote.

Culinary Local 226 held two sessions of ratification votes for the roughly 25,000 members that work at an MGM property on the Strip.

It passed fashion to how the Caesars Entertainment workers overwhelmingly approved their contract on Monday with 99 percent in favor.

Culinary officials said every worker will get a 10 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract, retroactive to June 1, with a 32-percent increase over the total life of the contract. The average worker earns about $26 an hour, including benefits. That figure is expected to reach $35 by the end of the five years.

The union has called the contract “historic” for its significant wage increases, guaranteed lower workloads, technology protections and other career support.

Culinary is in negotiations with 24 independent Strip and Downtown Las Vegas casino-resorts for new contracts, where the union represents about 15,000 workers. Pappageorge said Monday that strike deadlines could be called for some independent Strip operators by the end of this year and possible strike deadlines could be called for downtown locations in January or February 2024.

Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said the union incorporated stronger protections against job-replacing technology. It requires the union and its members to receive six months’ notice before new tech introductions and involvement in picking prototypes and vendors, Pappageorge said. It also requires training opportunities for any worker affected by new tech. Lastly, it establishes a $2,000 severance for every year of seniority a laid off worker has, plus six months of additional health and pension benefits.

“We believe that there’s going to be lots of jobs in Las Vegas, but we don’t know what they’re going to be like,” he said. “Folks are extremely nervous about artificial intelligence combined with robotics, and what it can do the service industry.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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