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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 1, 2002

Las Vegas ratification vote set

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — With a strike deadline pushed back for downtown Las Vegas hotels, unions set a contract ratification vote for employees at the biggest hotel-casinos on the Strip.

In a vote Thursday, Culinary Union workers voted to postpone to July 1 a potential strike at downtown Las Vegas hotels that have not yet reached a contract in negotiations.
Culinary Local 226 and Bartender's Local 165 officials predicted solid support when union members covered by the tentative agreements cast votes Thursday.

"It's clear the workers are going to ratify the contract," said Glen Arnodo, Culinary Union political director.

Arnodo said negotiating committees for the four companies — Park Place Entertainment, Harrah's Entertainment, Mandalay Resort Group and MGM Mirage — unanimously recommended the contract. The Tropicana negotiating committee also accepted its terms.

The new deals would give maids, bartenders, bellmen and food service workers a $3.23 1/2-per-hour raise in wages and benefits over five years. It covers 18 hotels, and 75 percent of the union's 47,000 members. Current Culinary Union wages and benefits average $14.17 per hour in Las Vegas.

Arnodo said Thursday's ratification meeting also will be a rally for negotiations with the remaining 17 downtown and Strip hotels that have not agreed on new contracts.

"Just because some properties have signed, the members know it's not over," Arnodo said. "This fight goes on until every member has a contract."

To allow time to negotiate with downtown properties, union officials this week agreed to extend a strike deadline 30 days, to July 1.

The unions could get support next week from the Detroit-based United Auto Workers. About 2,100 delegates to the UAW's constitutional convention will be in Las Vegas from Monday through June 10, meeting at the MGM Grand.