Vegas Hospitality Strike Threatens InfoComm 18

Vegas Hospitality Strike Threatens InfoComm 18
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As over 45,000 AV professionals prepare to descend on Las Vegas for InfoComm 2018, Las Vegas casino workers are preparing for a possible strike—members of UNITE HERE's Culinary and Bartenders Unions voted today to authorize a strike any time starting June 1.

About 50,000 union workers’ contracts are set to expire at midnight on May 31. Members of the union include bartenders, guest room attendants, cocktail servers, food servers, porters, bellman, and cooks at 34 casinos in the Las Vegas area. A potential strike would affect properties including the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, and more.

“We are aware that the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has authorized a potential strike that could coincide with InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas,” said Jason McGraw, AVIXA’s senior vice president of exhibitions. “The strike authorization vote is not a vote to actually go on strike; it is a vote to give the union the authorization to call a strike in the future if they choose. This is part of their internal process and is a standard practice during union negotiations, which are currently underway and have been since February.”

"A vote such as this is an expected part of the process," MGM Resorts International said in a statement. "We are confident that we can resolve the outstanding contract issues and will come to an agreement that works for all sides." Caesars Entertainment Corp. echoed the sentiment in a similar statement saying it expects to reach an agreement with the union "on or about June 1."

“Those hotels in the InfoComm room block that may be affected—less than half of the block—are continuing to operate normally and provide all guest services, including convention and meeting services,” concluded McGraw. “We continue to monitor the situation closely, but at this time, neither we nor any of the hotels in question are anticipating a work stoppage or a disruption of service during InfoComm 2018.”

The last Las Vegas casino workers strike occurred in 1984, and spanned 67 days. The union also voted for a strike in 2001, but reached a deal with property owners before its members staged a walk out.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.