Casino Employees Agree To Union Deal With Venetian/Palazzo Las Vegas

Written By Hill Kerby on July 14, 2023
Employees at the Venetian and Palazzo can unionize under a deal with management.

Venetian Las Vegas and its sister resort, Palazzo, are on their way to becoming the final casinos on The Strip to enter into labor union agreements.

Large corporations and unions go hand-in-hand, with Nevada casinos proving no different, except for the Venetian and Palazzo. The news follows the 2022 sale of the properties from the former owner, Las Vegas Sands Corp. They were sold to Apollo Global Management and Vici Properties.

A resort spokesperson said an agreement has been reached allowing employees to unionize.

“The Venetian Resort Las Vegas has a long history of respecting our team members and putting their needs and interests at the center of our decision-making process. … Signing these neutrality agreements allows team members to freely choose whether or not to be represented by a union without interference or opposition.”

Four unions are talking with employees

Nevada online casinos are not allowed. And there is no real effort underway to change that in the near future.

As a result of the agreement between workers and the Venetian/Palazzo, four unions have begun discussions with non-gaming employees for representation:

  • Culinary Workers Union Local 226
  • Bartenders Union Local 165
  • Teamsters Local 986
  • Operating Engineers Local 501

New Venetian/Palazzo owner, new discussions

Venetian and Palazzo’s abstinence from labor union deals were tied to one person: Sheldon Adelson. The resort’s founder and previous owner (through the Las Vegas Sands Corporation) fought to keep unions off his property since it opened in 1999 by outsourcing parts of the resort and offering competitive wages and benefits packages to his full-time employees.

Adelson passed away in January 2021. The LVS then appointed a new CEO and sold the properties.

Unlike Adelson, Apollo actively supports unionization. It also had previous connections with labor unions nationwide, further creating the opportunity for employees to begin bargaining collectively.

An unsigned statement from local chapters read:

“Our unions have historically worked with Apollo Global Management in Las Vegas and in other major metropolitan areas across the United States, and we are hopeful as thousands of workers, employed at the only two non-union casinos remaining on the Las Vegas Strip, will have the opportunity to choose whether to unionize while management remains neutral and respects their choice.”

38,000 employees could be covered

The announcement of Venetian and Palazzo employees’ ability to join unions comes on the heels of a five-year contract expiring on June 1 involving more than 40 Las Vegas resorts, gaming and non-gaming.

Unions and employees began discussing a new collective bargaining agreement in April. They could not reach a new deal by the deadline, citing complexities on all sides. Talks continue, and employees remain at work, having chosen not to declare a strike date upon the agreement expiring.

The Culinary and Bartenders unions have remained in talks with representatives from Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts to craft a five-year agreement that could cover up to 38,000 employees.

Venetian’s new presence will add to the bargaining power, regardless of whether it enters into a joint agreement with these three powerhouses or negotiates separately.

Other Las Vegas labor deals of note

The June 1 labor expiration date affected resorts around town, including downtown casinos and other Strip properties like Treasure Island, The Strat and Tropicana.

Tropicana’s future has more uncertainty amidst recent talks of becoming the site for the Oakland A’s new stadium. Trop owner Bally’s stated that a temporary closure could come to build an integrated stadium and casino resort. Still, Culinary Union 226 says it has a rich history with the property and will ensure union workers and their jobs remain protected.

West of the Strip, workers at The Palms renewed a three-year labor contract in May that affected approximately 900 non-gaming employees.

The locally-based Station Casinos have a full plate of union pressure. The Culinary Union remains in contract disputes stemming from alleged unfair labor practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has asked commissioned artists to stop doing business with its properties. Station owns six casinos in the Las Vegas area, including Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch and Palace Station.

On the gaming side of operations, Wynn Las Vegas dealers signed their first CBA in 2021 with the United Autoworkers Gaming Union. That agreement expires in 2024.

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