For immediate release
August 23, 2018
Palms Casino and Green Valley Ranch Resort charged with violating federal law as Station Casinos continues to flout government’s certification of union election results
Las Vegas, NV – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC has denied Station Casinos’ legal challenges to recent union election victories at both Palms Casino and Green Valley Ranch Resort. The Regional Director for the NLRB office covering Las Vegas has now issued legal complaints against both properties alleging that their refusal to bargain is illegal.
The NLRB complaint against the Palms dated August 15, 2018 alleges: “Respondent has been failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith with the exclusive collective-bargaining representative of its employees…”
Workers at both the Palms and Green Valley Ranch voted by overwhelming margins in favor of unionizing in April 2018 and November 2017 respectively. But instead of recognizing these results, Station Casinos has tried to overturn the elections through a series of unsuccessful legal challenges. Station Casinos’ challenges have been rejected twice now by unanimous three-member panels of the NLRB, and in each case, a majority of the panel were made up of appointees of the Trump Administration. Station Casinos’ legal challenge at the Palms was rebuffed by a one-line dismissal by the NLRB stating that it “raises no substantial issues warranting review.”
“The company lied to us,” said Eduardo Truebas Martinez, a cook at the Palms A.Y.C.E. Buffet. “Station Casinos always said that if we held a union election that they would respect our votes. We voted to unionize because we want the same standard as Strip workers – fair wages, job security, good health benefits. It’s time for the company to do the right thing and negotiate.”
The Culinary Union calls on Station Casinos, Nevada’s third largest private employer, to begin contract negotiations immediately.
“Station Casinos is defying federal law as it continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Any unilateral changes pertaining to workers and their workplace conditions are illegal at the Palms and Green Valley Ranch unless explicitly bargained with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions.”
The Nevada AFL-CIO on August 20, 2018 adopted the following resolution at their convention:
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates and member Unions of the Nevada AFL-CIO gathered here today hereby
* Call on Station Casinos to respect its employees’ clear choice to unionize at Green Valley Ranch and Palms;
* Call on Station Casinos to honor the results of the secret-ballot NLRB elections at Green Valley Ranch and Palms like it had always promised;
* Demand that Station Casinos follow federal law and enter into good-faith negotiations with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions for their unionized workers at Green Valley Ranch and Palms; and
* Urge Station Casinos to agree to a fair Union contract for Boulder Station and Palace Station that upholds the Union standard in the Las Vegas gaming industry.”
Station Casinos has said many times that they would respect their 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)
Palms Casino Resort, acquired by Station Casinos in 2016 for approximately $320 million, is located west of the Las Vegas Strip past Interstate 15. The property is undergoing a major renovation with an expected budget of $620 million. Palms Place, further west and connected to the Palms casino through a walkway, has 599 AAA Four-Diamond condominium hotel units, the majority of which are in a rental pool managed by Palms. The famous recording studio inside Palms has been used by many artists, including Jay-Z, Céline Dion, Beyoncé, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, Carlos Santana, T-Pain, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Maroon 5.
In 2010, workers at Station Casinos started a public organizing drive. A super 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 anti-union attacks.
Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR) became the parent company of Station Casinos through an IPO last year. The company is controlled by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who own 10-to-1 super-voting Class B shares of Red Rock Resorts. In addition to the unionized Boulder Station, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, and Palms Casino Resort, the company’s other casino-hotels in Las Vegas include: Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, and Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho.
ABOUT THE CULINARY UNION:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent over 57,000 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 270,000 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 143,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.
The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with over 57,000 members – a diverse membership that is approximately 55% women and 54% Latino. Members – who work as guest room attendants, bartenders, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, and kitchen workers – come from 173 countries and speak over 40 different languages. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for working men and women in Nevada for 83 years.