The NV Independent   ·   Link to Article

With contracts settled, Culinary Union eyes aggressive growth in 2024

Jose de Jesus Zuniga, a cook at Alexxa’s inside Paris Las Vegas, watched last November as restaurant employees at the Strip resort celebrated the ratification of a new five-year labor agreement between Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and property operator Caesars Entertainment.

He hopes to have that same experience one day.

Alexxa’s, an American eatery with patio views of the Bellagio Fountains on the other side of the Strip, operates independently of the dozen Paris-run restaurants. Like other privately owned food outlets inside Strip resorts, it's not part of the five-year labor agreements Culinary and its affiliated Bartenders Local 165 settled during the past 10 months with companies representing nearly 40 Strip and downtown resorts covering nearly 50,000 non-gaming workers.

But one of the provisions in the new contracts allows the Culinary and Bartenders to organize nonunion restaurant workers at those properties. That was good news to Zuniga, who said he makes $6 an hour less than unionized Paris restaurant workers and pays for his health care. He is often asked to perform several tasks outside his job classification, such as washing dishes, which wouldn’t happen under a union contract.  

“We want a union and we support a union,” Zuniga said, speaking in Spanish that was translated by a Culinary member. 

“That’s why we’re sharing our stories. We hope more workers like me can join the union,” Zuniga said.

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