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The Las Vegas Grand Prix could be thrown into chaos if a planned strike by a union representing hotel workers goes ahead. MGM, Caesers and Wynn Resorts could all be forced to close their vastly significant hotel operations on the strip if they fail to negotiate a deal with the Las Vegas Culinary Union.
The Formula One race, which will attract a global television audience of millions, is set to take place on Sunday, November 19, leaving organisers with little time to strike a deal.
The Las Vegas Culinary Union represents 53,000 members who effectively keep Las Vegas open 24/7. Workers perform a wide range of jobs such as customer-facing roles like waiters and bartenders and operational processes including the cleaning of thousands of hotel rooms.
The union has been through three rounds of negotiations with all the big names on the Las Vegas Strip including MGM Resorts, Caesers and Wynn Resorts, but a deadlock has still not been broken.
According to The Street, the union has ‘hefty demands’ but also potentially has the clout – and membership – to see them met. Concerningly for organisers of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, over two voting sessions on September 26, 95% of union members voted in favour of a strike.
For most recent round of talks saw the Culinary Workers Union Local proposed new five-year contracts for their members with the three big Las Vegas strip players, which would in turn set the bar for other hotels in the area.
The union’s website says it has called for “the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Culinary Union”.
The proposed deal includes “reducing workload and steep housekeeping room quotas, mandating daily room cleaning, and establishing the right for guest room attendants to securely work in set areas”.
It has also called for enhanced safety precautions for all workers.
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Although members have voted in favour of strike action, no date as yet been proposed for industrial action. The Las Vegas Grand Prix is an obvious event to target, with thousands of punters set to visit the desert city for the chance to see the likes of Max Verstappen, Britian’s Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, pumping millions of dollars into the hotels that serve the area.
But there are other big events on the horizon that could also be targeted including the Consumer Electronics Show in January and NFL’s Super Bowl in February.
With backing from the members already secured, casino and hotel operators in Las Vegas are left with no choice but to take the threat of strike action seriously or risk millions of dollars in lost revenue.
MGM Resorts, Caesars and Wynn hold contracts with around 40,000 of the union’s members and would be the hardest hit, potentially damaging the city’s blossoming relationship with he sports industry.
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