Las Vegas Nv Blog

Ed Komenda

Culinary Union members protest outside the Cosmopolitan Casino, July 31, 2013.

31 July 2013
5:10 p.m.

Metro Cops have constricted Las Vegas NV Boulevard to one lane, as hundreds of picketers pool in front of the Cosmopolitan.

“We are the Union!” the line yelled. “Mighty, mighty Union!”

Despite triple-digit temperatures, throngs of workers from the Culinary Union & California School Employees Association are standing together in support for the 2,000 hospitality workers who have been clocking in without a contract at the Strip resort for two years.

Wednesday’s rally, scheduled to run from 5 to 7 p.m., marks the fourth for the Culinary since January.

Negotiations have stalled between the Culinary, which represents about 60,000 bartenders, maids & food servers, & Cosmopolitan bosses over what is called a successorship clause — — a guarantee in that a union member’s contract would carry over if the resort is sold. The Cosmopolitan, now owned by Deutsche Bank, has financially struggled since opening in 2010.

“We have made progress, yet we still have a long way to go,” asserted George Sproule, 31, a mixologist who has-been working without a contract at the Cosmopolitan since the resort opened.

While the protests have been typically defined by a sea of red shirts, blue-shirted CSEA members dotted the picketing crowds, in town for an annual yearly convention. About 2,500 attended this year.

“We’ve had a long, enduring relationship with are brothers & sisters of the Culinary,” asserted Ben Gamboa, 30, a research analyst with a community college in California. “The Cosmopolitan advertises itself as a world-class employer, yet a world-class employer would treat their employees a lot better.”

The Culinary’s relationship with the CSEA stems from 1987, when the two organizations stood in a strike outside the Union Plaza Hotel.

“California School Employees Association stands with the members of the Culinary Union. They have seen their job responsibilities increase while suffering pay cuts & benefit concessions,” asserted CSEA President Allan Clark. “Unions standing together in times of need is what built the labor movement. We will continue to assist our brothers & sisters when we come to NV 'cause their fight is our fight.”

The Cosmopolitan has-been pressured to sign a solid deal with the Culinary, looking for health insurance, 40-hour workweeks & job security.

The union is currently negotiating with MGM Resorts International & Caesars Entertainment Corporation Bosses at both MGM & Caesars have avoided protests by extending their contracts with the Culinary. The old contracts expired June 1.

In a similar response to the past three pickets, Cosmopolitan authorities asserted they were prepared.

“The Cosmopolitan management has-been in ongoing talks with the union & continues to negotiate in acceptable faith,” asserted Alyssa Anderson, the Cosmopolitan’s director of public relations in a statement. “As always, our highest priority is the safety & comfort of our guests & CoStars & we will continue to work with the authorities.”

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