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Culinary Union: Workers at Station Casinos’ Sunset Station Unionize

Culinary Union: Workers at Station Casinos’ Sunset Station Unionize
Workers at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino, which is owned and operated by Station Casinos, voted to unionize on Thursday, June 13, 2019, through a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

During the one-day NLRB election, 437 workers voted and 83% voted “YES” for the union. Approximately 600 Sunset Station workers will be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE.

“Once again, Station Casinos workers, this time at Sunset Station, have spoken loud and clear that they want a union, fair wages, and good benefits like at other union casinos in Las Vegas and that they want to be treated fairly on the job,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer and leader of the Culinary Union. “We call on Station Casinos to immediately to negotiate and settle a fair contract for the workers at Sunset Station, Palms, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, and Boulder Station.”

Sunset Station is the fifth Station Casinos Las Vegas property to unionize since 2016. Station Casinos, the third-largest private-sector employer in Southern Nevada, is the operating subsidiary of Red Rock Resorts, Inc.

Workers at five Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties are now unionized and fighting for a union contract: Boulder Station (September 2016), Palace Station (March 2017), Green Valley Ranch (November 2017), Palms (April 2018), and Sunset Station (June 2019).

“I am so happy to be become part of the union!” said Athena Sarelio, a food server at the Sunset. “I voted YES for the Culinary Union so I could have security for my family. I want to ensure that when I retire one day, I will be able to retire with dignity with a union pension. I can’t wait to negotiate a contract!”

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)

This latest unionizing victory at Sunset Station follows a May 22, 2019 NLRB decision and order finding that Station Casinos’ Palms Casino Resort has unlawfully refused to recognize and bargain with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions.

In 2010, workers at Station Casinos started a public organizing drive. A 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 interference, intimidation, bullying, and litigation.

Red Rock Resorts became the parent company of Station Casinos through an IPO in 2016. The company is controlled by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. In addition to the unionized Boulder Station, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palms, and Sunset Station, the company’s other casino-hotels in Las Vegas include: Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson, and Fiesta Rancho.