For immediate release
February 25, 2010
Maya Holmes, [email protected]
Unions File Charge Against Company for Violating Workers Rights Under Federal Labor Law
Las Vegas–Hundreds of workers from Station Casinos founded a union organizing committee last week and are meeting at the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 today. The workers have called on the company to agree to a fair process for workers to form a union free from management interference, intimidation and harassment. The Culinary and Bartenders unions have informed the company’s owners, partners, creditors and the National Labor Relations Board of the committee’s formation.
Station Casinos answered the workers’ request for a fair process with threats and intimidation. Yesterday, the unions filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the company with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the company violated federal labor law in over 100 incidences by threatening, surveilling, physically assaulting and intimidating workers for their union activities.
"I’ve worked at Palace Station for 18 years," said Casino Porter and Organizing Committee Member Casiano Corpus. "I joined the organizing committee because I want a better future for myself, my family and my coworkers. Station Casinos may not want a union, but it is not their decision to make. It is our decision and they shouldn’t try to scare or intimidate us because of our union activity."
Since a management-led buyout in November 2007 that paid Station Casinos insiders $660 million, the company has subcontracted out its coffee shops and its uniform department to outside operators. Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs with the company as a result. The company has also cut hours, made permanent lay offs, suspended the workers’ 401(k) match, and raised employees’ health insurance premiums.
Station Casinos, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Reno on July 28, 2009. It has until March 25, 2010 to file a plan of reorganization. Creditors in the case include Deutsche Bank, Fidelity, Western Asset Management, and Serengeti Asset Management. The subsidiary that operates the company’s Green Valley Ranch resort filed for bankruptcy on February 10, 2010.
"These workers are standing up for themselves and their families," said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Culinary Workers Union President. "The company and the workers are in a very difficult position right now because the 2007 buyout increased the company’s debt and left it unable to weather the economic downturn. The company is making decisions that affect these workers lives and their ability to take care of themselves and their families. The workers didn’t create this mess, but they are suffering as a result. We are going to do everything we can so they can achieve the respect they deserve and take care of their families with dignity."
This is not the first time workers in Las Vegas have sought to form a union during a bankruptcy. Workers at the Aladdin, now Planet Hollywood, casino organized a union during that casino’s bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court required any new owner to keep the existing workers. The new owner took over in 2004 and agreed to a fair and neutral process for workers to form a union.
The Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, and Bartenders Union, Local 165 are both affiliates of UNITE HERE.
The Culinary is the largest local labor union in the gaming industry. The Culinary represents approximately 55,000 casino and resort workers primarily on the Las Vegas Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.
Last November, the unions released a report examining how the company’s debt enabled insiders to extract over $1 billion from the company in recent years and that these insiders, not the recession, drove the company into bankruptcy. For a copy of the report contact Ken Liu at [email protected].