No wage hike for first 3 years of new contract

Culinary Union rejects Virgin Hotels' wage proposal amid protracted negotiations

Reading time 1:27 min

Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 have rejected Virgin Hotels latest wage proposal, prolonging negotiations that have been ongoing for five months.

Virgin Hotels offered a $1 per hour wage and benefits increase during the final two years of a five-year contract, but union leaders criticized the offer as inadequate, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Union members, who held a two-day strike on May 10, say that Virgin Hotels' management has not offered wage increases for the first three years of the new contract. The fourth offer, revealed by the company on Thursday, includes continued contributions to Culinary-managed benefits funds but no immediate wage increases.

Virgin Hotels, which rebranded from the former Hard Rock Hotel in 2021, requested more flexibility in wage increases due to the business's recent transition. Chief Human Resources Officer Kate Hay stated that the initial contract years should be a "runway" period for business stabilization.

Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge condemned the offer and its public disclosure, calling it a "publicity stunt" and labeling the proposal as "horrible."

“When a company bargains in the press, it means they’re not serious. They’re literally the last one and I think they’re looking for special treatment. It’s inappropriate,” Pappageorge said, as per the report.

Other Strip, off-Strip and downtown casinos ratified deals with its union members in the fall and winter. Those achieved a 10 percent wage increase in the first year and additional increases over the life of the contract that reach about 32 percent, according to the union.

Pappageorge noted that other properties have agreed to wage and benefit increases between $1.50 and $1.70 per hour for the last two years of their contracts.

Virgin Hotels has accused the union of bad faith negotiations and making misleading statements about their proposals. It claimed the union has not agreed to additional meeting dates, an assertion Pappageorge disputed, explaining that the proposed dates conflicted with profitable workdays for members.

Despite Virgin Hotels framing the offer as final, Pappageorge expects further negotiations, although no strike is planned and no future meeting has been scheduled.

Culinary represents around 700 of Virgin’s 1,700 workers, who have been without a new contract since June of last year.

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