Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 24, 2007

Caesars Palace Dealers Vote to Unionize

Posted by Hunter

Well, this could be the second shot across the bow in the industry as we see a second major Las Vegas casino's dealers vote to have union representation.

Following Wynn Las Vegas dealers before them, is this a reflection on management in these two organizations? Will we see dealers at an MGM Mirage property go this route?


Read archived comments (11 so far)
December 24, 2007 1:24 PM Posted by detroit1051

The union vote at Wynn was caused by a sense that Steve Wynn betrayed the dealers after encouraging many of them to leave Bellagio and other properties. I believe the Caesars vote reflects the uneasiness many HET employees feel because of the private equity deal. Liz Benston has an interesting story in the LV Sun on how Harrah's will position its properties after the deal closes. I think the deal will be a negative for Las Vegas, HET employees and customers. We'll see.

December 25, 2007 6:57 AM Posted by Ken Jarvis

ALL workers should belong to unions.

Why would anyone think -
"a negative for Las Vegas, HET employees and customers"?
Whoever wrote that must be one of the Managers.
LVKen7 at Gmail dot com

December 25, 2007 8:02 AM Posted by Hunter

I don't want to speak for him but I believe Detroit was saying he believes the Texas Pacific/Apollo take over of Harrah's is what would be bad for HET employees and Las Vegas visitors, not dealer unionization.

December 25, 2007 9:34 AM Posted by detroit1051

Thanks for clarifying that, Hunter. I wasn't taking any position on unions. I was giving my opinion on the private ownership of Harrah's. In my opinion, the employees, customers and Las Vegas as a whole were better served by a publicly traded company. There are fewer publicly traded gaming companies every year, so we'll see over the long run how that affects the industry and Vegas.

Let me add that I really enjoy reading everyone's posts here at Two Way Hard Three and look forward to another year here.

December 25, 2007 10:54 PM Posted by Brendan Tait

Whether or not one likes or dislikes unions is not the issue here. Most of the time, employees who vote to enter or start a union do so because of underlying fears, and in this case, the private takeover is most likely the big issue. Personally, I do not see the need for unions when an employer or management treats employees fairly. Unfortunately, unions bring a lot of bad with the good (like anything in life), and can create a whole different pile of issues. In this case, it is pretty clear that the employees are clearly uneasy with the private takeover and are trying to protect themselves and their jobs. My guess is that management @ HET and/or the "new" management are not guaranteeing jobs or warning of layoffs. Only time will tell...

December 26, 2007 9:56 AM Posted by doc_al

I disagree with detroit's comment:
"In my opinion, the employees, customers and Las Vegas as a whole were better served by a publicly traded company."

The best operators, from a player's perspective anyway, have always been single private owners. Conversely, Harrah's was IMO the best-run publicly traded gaming company because of -- not in spite of -- how poor the gaming was (while remaining popular with customers thanks to a hugely successful loyalty program).

I don't think private ownership by a private equity firm is all that different from public ownership, except as Mr. Loveman notes, without so much of a knee-jerk reaction to quarterly reports. Still, the emphasis is on growth and/or improved profitability, not stable operation. Growth will mean higher room rates IMO and improved profitability comes at the expense of employees and customers.

Real interesting question raised in that LV Sun article about Harrahs mid-strip plans tho. The strength of Harrahs is their really excellent feeder network of casinos around the US, but you need to tie that in with a place those same players can realistically go in Vegas, but that's also a draw. It doesn't appear that you can build that (new) in the current LV Strip economy.

December 31, 2007 11:44 PM Posted by mikckel

Wynn Las Vegas' 4-Count Federal Law Violation of the National Labor Relations Act

January 1, 2008 11:36 AM Posted by Hunter

Can someone explain to me exactly what this means?

It seems to me that they basically were forced to 'stop being mean' to their employees and forbidding them from organizing, etc...

There's nothing in here that would force a change on the tip sharing stuff, right?

It's such dense governmental-ese that I can barely read it.

January 1, 2008 4:14 PM Posted by doc_al

All I see on that link is an order requiring Wynn to stop violating labor laws pertaining to unionizing, and make postings to advise employees that they have the right to unionize and that Wynn will not interfere with those rights anymore.

While the tip-sharing meeting is discussed at length, that practice is apparently beyond the scope of the employment laws in question.

January 1, 2008 6:27 PM Posted by Mansky

" And if Wynn is found to be violating labor laws, it could have repercussions with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, according to board chairman Dennis Neilander" Read the article here;

January 1, 2008 6:38 PM Posted by Hunter

Sure, I remember that... But I took that more like:

"If we are absolutely forced to do something, we might. Like if they were sacrificing puppies in the lobby or something."

I personally doubt that the Nevada gaming machinery will touch Wynn Resorts for this. They will look for every excuse to ignore it. Look at how they handled the Pansy Ho/MGM Mirage thing... Or even this Tropicana deal.