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Dozens of Culinary Union workers arrested in rally on Las Vegas Strip

Culinary Union workers are zip-tied on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 26, 2023.
Yvette Fernandez
Culinary Union workers are zip-tied on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 26, 2023.

The Culinary Union held its second rally this month on the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday night, calling for a new contract. This time, the union's efforts were even more bold.

Culinary Union members, representing more than 50,000 workers who are employed at casinos, hotels and restaurants along the Strip are currently working without a contract. They've been in negotiations since March. In September, members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike at any time.

Wednesday night, union members staged a rally which included “a nonviolent civil disobedience action,” some 75 union members essentially staged a sit-in on Las Vegas Boulevard, blocking traffic.

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Union spokesperson Ted Pappageorge said he thinks this will send a strong message.

“I think that if workers show they're willing to do whatever it takes including nonviolent civil disobedience, willing to get arrested and fight for their contract and fight for their families. We think that's something that the public will support and they have in the past,” said Pappageorge.

The sit-in civil disobedience is a misdemeanor. Those arrested were escorted to a police bus, then taken to a mobile processing area and released.

Pappageorge said they have more negotiation meetings this week and if there is not enough forward movement, the union could strike as early as next week. The union's bargaining unit met Monday with MGM, and there was some forward movement, but Pappageorge said it was not enough.

"We want to avoid a strike, but these workers are ready to strike if necessary," said Pappageorge. There are several strike deadlines are coming up within weeks.

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“For MGM, Ceasars and Wynn Resorts, that deadline is right now. So, we've got bargaining with Ceasars on Friday, Wynn on Monday. We're hoping that we see more movement than we saw with MGM," he said.

The next big event, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, will take place in less than a month.

Yvette Fernandez is KNPR’s daily news reporter and announcer. She joined the station September 2021.
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