Federal government says Green Valley Ranch Casino must negotiate after Station Casinos loses latest appeal, Culinary Union requests negotiations dates



Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Bethany Khan ▪ BKhan@culinaryunion226.org ▪ (702) 387-7088

Federal government says Green Valley Ranch Casino must negotiate after Station Casinos loses latest appeal, Culinary Union requests negotiations dates 

Las Vegas, NV – Culinary and Bartenders Unions have won union recognition at the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa Casino of Station Casinos. 

This victory comes after the DC Circuit Court denied the Station Casinos’ latest appeal last week and the company finally dropped all of its unfounded and unsuccessful challenges to union representation. The National Labor Relations Board Region (NLRB) Region 28 will enforce a June 2019 settlement agreement which requires the company to negotiate. The Culinary Union has sent a letter to the company requesting bargaining dates and will begin negotiations for a first contract with Station Casino covering approximately 900 Green Valley Ranch workers.

“It’s shameful that Station Casinos has spent years fighting the democratic votes of their employees,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Workers voted to have a union contract that would guarantee their protections on the job so they could provide for their families without being worried. We look forward to negotiating and winning a contract at Green Valley Ranch.”

The NLRB ordered that Station Casinos must post a public notice to Green Valley Ranch workers advising that the company will follow the law and not make any more changes regarding worker’s wages, hours, and rights without first negotiating with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions, the legal representative of workers including guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. Any past changes the company illegally made – going back to 2017 – must be now reversed and negotiated.

Excerpt from the NLRB notice Green Valley Ranch must publicly post:

“WE WILL NOT make changes to the wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment of employees in the Unit, including by making changes to their seniority, without first affording Union notice and an opportunity to bargain. 

WE WILL NOT bypass the Union and deal directly with employees in the Unit concerning their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment, including by dealing directly with them concerning changes to their seniority.”

Workers at Green Valley Ranch voted by the overwhelming margin of 78% in favor of unionizing in November 2017, but instead of recognizing that democratic result, Station Casinos had tried to overturn the election through a series of unsuccessful and lengthy legal challenges.

“It’s time for Station Casinos to do the right thing and agree to a contract,” said Mike Wagner, a bartender at Green Valley Ranch. “I voted ‘YES’ to unionize because I have felt insecure going to work every day and not knowing what would happen to my job. One day our HMO is free and the next day it wasn’t. One day some of workers had a job and the next day they didn’t. I want guaranteed peace of mind – that’s a contract.”

Workers at seven Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties are fighting for a union contract: Boulder Station (September 2016), Palace Station (March 2017), Green Valley Ranch (November 2017), Palms (April 2018), Sunset Station (June 2019), Fiesta Rancho (June 2019), and Fiesta Henderson (September 2019).

Station Casinos has said many times that they would respect their employees’ right to unionize through an NLRB election:

* “We have said all along that if a fair and lawful election is held we will abide by the results.” - Richard Haskins, president of Station Casinos (Las Vegas Review Journal – September 1, 2016) 

“We…support their right to join a union if they so choose as that decision is theirs, not ours, to make.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun - February 12, 2016). 

“We’ve always respected our employees’ right to join a union if that’s what they want to do.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun - January 20, 2016)

“Station Casinos officials have said they are willing to allow a secret-ballot vote” (Las Vegas Review Journal - October 7, 2014)

“The decision to join a union belongs to our team members, and we respect that right.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun – August 29, 2014)

“We’ve made it really clear that the door is open for a secret-ballot election.” - Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Wall Street Journal – March 22, 2013) 

“Station saying a secret-ballot election is allowed and welcomed.” (Las Vegas Sun – January 22, 2012)

“If the employees choose they wanna be in the union, then that’s their choice.” – Lorenzo Fertitta (Heavy MMA – September 2, 2011)

“We have always recognized our team members’ right to be represented by a union if they so choose.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Review Journal – February 17, 2011)

During the two-day election conducted by the NLRB in November 2017, 730 Green Valley Ranch workers voted by a landslide 78% “YES” for the union. Approximately 900 Green Valley Ranch workers are represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE. 

In 2010, workers at Station Casinos started a public organizing drive. A majority of workers in the classifications that Culinary and Bartenders’ traditionally represents (which includes most of the hotel and food and beverage workers in a casino hotel) signed a public petition to demand a fair process to exercise their right to choose whether to unionize. Changes to NLRB rules in 2014 created new opportunities for workers to choose whether to unionize through NLRB-supervised secret-ballot elections despite Station Casinos’ management interference, intimidation, bullying, and litigation.

Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR) became the parent company of Station Casinos through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2016. The company is controlled by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, billionaire supporters of President Donald Trump. In addition to the seven properties where workers are fighting for union contracts: Boulder Station, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palms, Sunset Station, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson, the company’s other casino-hotels in Las Vegas include: Red Rock Casino*, Santa Fe Station, and Texas Station.

*The Culinary and Bartenders Unions is challenging the company’s behavior during a recent union election at Red Rock Casino. Red Rock Casino seriously interfered with workers’ right to a free and fair union election under federal law. Management announced just after the Culinary & Bartenders Unions filed for the election at Red Rock Casino in December 2019, that it would be making its HMO health plan premium-free and deductible-free, and did so a few days before the union election was held. The company also announced increased company contributions to workers’ 401(k) accounts. The NLRB has repeatedly condemned these types of ploys as interfering with the conditions necessary for a fair election. Culinary and Bartenders Unions are confident that the NLRB will find the company’s schemes illegal and order Red Rock Casino to recognize the union and bargain a contract.



Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America. 

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 130,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership -- approximately 55% women, 54% Latinx, 19% White, 15% Asian, 10% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples — and consists of guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for workers in Nevada for 85 years. 


CulinaryUnion226.org / @Culinary226

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