Federal labor law

Culinary Union calls Station Casinos license suitability into question, urges Nevada regulators to investigate

Culinary Union members protesting in a rally last year.
Reading time 3:02 min

The Culinary Union has called Station Casinos' suitability for a Nevada gaming license into question. In a statement, released last Wednesday, Culinary officials urged the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to investigate the company for “failing to adhere to federal labor law.”

“The Culinary Union is urging the Gaming Control Board to move the Nevada Gaming Commission to take disciplinary action against Station Casinos, up to and including revocation of privileged gaming licenses held by affiliates,” the statement reads.

The union has now “officially asked” regulators to launch the investigation, alleging that as part of its long-standing public policy that the gaming industry is of vital importance to the economy of the state, Nevada should enforce the “strict regulations” of all licensed gaming establishments.

“Individuals and companies who have been approved to hold a Nevada gaming license have an obligation to continue to conduct themselves in a way that meets the high standards of licensure of Nevada gaming regulators,” officials for the union wrote.

Station Casinos' Palace Station

The Culinary Union is confident the State’s gaming regulators will want to take action against Station Casinos after they have reviewed the ample documentation and evidence of the company and its affiliates’ disregard of federal law, including the current allegations before the NLRB,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. 

The petition to state regulators marks a new episode in the ongoing dispute between the Culinary Union and Station Casinos. The union has long maintained that the gaming operator has violated federal labor laws in its alleged opposition and interference with unionization efforts at its properties.

“No one has a right to a revocable, privileged Nevada gaming license - gaming regulators have a duty to make sure license-holders, like Station Casinos, are always operating in a way befitting Nevada’s gold standard of gaming industry regulation,” further said Pappageorge.

The courts have thus far sided with the union. In an injunction order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro last year, she stated the National Labor Relations Board would likely rule that Station Casinos' parent company Red Rock Casinos violated federal labor law as part of a campaign to defeat the union in an election.

The Culinary Union claims workers at nine Station Casinos properties in Las Vegas are fighting for a union contract, but that the casino operator has systematically interfered with said attempts, including an election last year at Santa Fe Station Hotel & Casino. The company has been accused of wrongdoing, by improving pay and benefits ahead of elections to sway voters.

However, the company denies the claims: “The Culinary Union seems unable to win the hearts and minds of our team members, so they just continue with their harassment and their thuggish attempts to intimidate Station Casinos, whose employees voted us the top casino employer in Las Vegas,” a Station Casinos spokesperson said last week, according to 8 News Now.

Earlier this month, nonprofit National Right to Work revealed a group of slot machine technicians at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, owned and operated by Station Casinos, are seeking a vote on whether to remove the presence of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 501 from their workplace.

A petition was submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by Red Rock technician Jereme Barrios, with legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which describes itself as a charitable organization with the mission “to eliminate coercive union power and compulsory unionism abuses” through strategic litigation.

According to the organization, Barrios’ petition for a union decertification vote contains the signatures of “a large majority” of slot machine technicians at the casino, above the percentage NLRB rules as required to trigger a vote. Barring any delays, the vote would be held in April, at the venue.

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