Judge authorizes federal subpoena enforcement against Station Casinos, Culinary Union calls on company to comply and produce documents



Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 


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

Judge authorizes federal subpoena enforcement against Station Casinos, Culinary Union calls on company to comply and produce documents

Las Vegas, NV – On Friday, October 15, 2021, an Administrative Law Judge of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order authorizing the NLRB’s general counsel to initiate subpoena enforcement proceedings against Station Casinos in federal court.   

With a little more than a week remaining before the government is to start presenting evidence at an NLRB trial on October 25, 2021, Judge Amita B. Tracy ruled that Station Casinos had still not produced records that the government had been demanding for three months. She wrote that Station Casinos failed to comply with her September 3 order to start producing responsive documents “immediately” and that the company simply offered “more excuses as to why the documents have not been provided.” Calling Station Casinos’ conduct “contumacious,” Judge Tracy authorized the NLRB’s general counsel to proceed to federal court for subpoena enforcement.  

The NLRB’s General Counsel issued the subpoena in June 2021 in conjunction with a complaint against Station Casinos and its individual casinos in Las Vegas. The federal government alleges that the company “engaged in a scheme to use employee layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine unions representing or seeking to represent their employees.” The subpoena seeks documents including emails, text messages, and other communications between Station Casinos’ top executives regarding a broad array of internal discussions. After the trial started on August 24, 2021 with preliminary matters, Judge Tracy ordered a recess to allow Station Casinos time to provide the documents the government seeks. Still, with only a week left before the government is to begin its case, Station Casinos has only partially complied with the subpoena.      

“The Administrative Law Judge’s order allowing subpoena enforcement proceedings against Station Casinos brings us one step closer to justice for workers who are standing up against the company’s anti-union activity,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “The Culinary Union calls on Station Casinos to stop disobeying the judge’s order and to produce the documents the government is demanding immediately.”   

Amita B. Tracy, an NLRB administrative law judge, wrote: “Now with a little more than one week before the hearing resumes, it does not appear that Respondents have provided all (or even close to all) the documents sought by [Counsel for the General Counsel] for over 3 months ago despite my giving the benefit of the doubt to Respondents’ counsel considering the breadth of these subpoena duces tecum requests. 

Moreover, rather than providing firm commitments to provide the documents by certain dates (and complying with these commitments), Respondents provide more excuses as to why the documents have not been provided. 

Nowhere in Respondents’ opposition is an assertion that a certain portion of the request has been provided, and based on their opposition, Respondents have made clear that they will not be providing all documents when the hearing resumes.  

No matter if the hearing is one day or 100-days, subpoena documents must be provided to the requesting party when the hearing opens unless otherwise agreed. 

Despite the hearing opening and my September 3, 2021, order on the petition to revoke, Respondents have not complied. I can reach no further conclusion at this time other than that Respondents have engaged in contumacious conduct and refused to obey my September 3, 2021 order.  

To that end, the General Counsel may seek enforcement of all the subpoena duces tecum at issue in federal district court.”

Workers at 10 Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties are fighting for a union contract: Boulder Station (September 2016)*, Palace Station (October 2017)*, Green Valley Ranch (November 2017)*, Palms (April 2018)*, Sunset Station (June 2019)*, Fiesta Rancho (June 2019)*, Fiesta Henderson (September 2019)*, Red Rock Resort (December 2019)*, Texas Station (April 2021)**, and Santa Fe (April 2021)**.   

*NLRB union vote dates. **Pending NLRB complaint seeking an additional bargaining 10(j) order.  

Station Casinos management announced just after the Culinary and Bartenders Unions filed for an election at Red Rock Casino in December 2019 that it would make its HMO health plan premium-free and deductible-free, and did so a few days before the election was held. Station Casinos also announced increased company contributions to workers’ 401(k) accounts. In a separate case from the one pending before Judge Tracy, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro granted the government’s request for an injunction in July 2021 requiring Red Rock Casino to bargain with the Unions pending the NLRB’s final resolution of that case. Station Casinos has appealed Judge Navarro’s ruling.

Station Casinos has said many times that it would respect its employees’ right to hold 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)


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 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.   

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/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 which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples.  

Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for working families in Nevada for 87 years.

CulinaryUnion226.org / @Culinary226 


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