First wave of pickets supporting Palms unionization to target celebrity chefs and businesses associated with the casino’s owners
Culinary workers will organize nationwide pickets at properties associated with Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to support employees at the resort in their long-year unionization effort, it became known Tuesday.
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Workers at the Palms voted last spring to unionize, but the hotel and casino resort has refused to respect their overwhelming vote and start contract negotiations. Under federal law, “secondary” picketing can be organized for the purpose of urging an employer to honor its staff’s choice to unionize through an election held through the National Labor Relations Board.
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The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, known to be Nevada affiliates of the UNITE HERE labor union, announced that a first wave of pickets will target celebrity chefs Marc Vetri and Michael Simon, Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan Dim Sum restaurant in New York, and partners of Fertitta Capital, the private investment vehicle of the owners of the Palms, among others.
The picketers will demand that the targeted restaurants and other businesses use their relationship with Palms officials to convince the casino resort to honor its employees’ choice to unionize and to begin negotiations with unions.
Demands for Higher Standard amid Expensive Renovation
Palms Casino Resort originally opened doors on the Las Vegas Strip in 2001. After financial troubles fueled by the Great Recession and several changes of ownership, the property was eventually purchased by Station Casinos in 2016 for $313 million. The Palms’ new owner pledged a $600-plus-million investment in renovating and upgrading the resort.
The first renovated facilities were launched last spring. More amenities have been unveiled over the past year, including the two-story Empathy Suite designed by British artist Damien Hirst, which at $200,000 for a two-night stay is touted as one of the world’s priciest accommodations. The renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Commenting on the upcoming pickets, Eduardo Truebas Martinez, a cook at the Palms’ A.Y.C.E. Buffet, has said that employees at the property voted to unionize because they wanted “the same standard” as the rest of the unionized workers at the Las Vegas Strip, including “fair wages, job security, great health benefit.”
Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union Geoconda Argüello-Kline has said that it is time that Palms began contract negotiations and that their union has been certified as the bargaining representative after Palms workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of union representation in a free, fair, and National Labor Relations Board-approved election.
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The first pickets are expected to take place in San Francisco, Washington D.C., New Haven, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, among others.
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