35,000 Workers Could Strike the Las Vegas Grand Prix

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35,000 Workers Could Strike the Las Vegas GPDenise Truscello - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Nevada's Culinary Workers Union is prepared to strike if a deal is not reached with casino owners by November 10. That means tens of thousands of bartenders, kitchen employees, and other hospitality workers who keep hotels and casinos running throughout the city could walk out just five days before the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The step comes after seven months of negotiation between the union and the three ownership groups behind many of the city's major casinos. While members of the union's contracts expired months ago, the union says that 35,000 workers are now prepared to strike at 18 casinos ahead of the event. Those properties owned by MGM Resorts International, Caesar's Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts include major properties like the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay, and Park MGM.

While having tens of thousands of people travel to Las Vegas for a big event is not unusual for Vegas, the scale of the grand prix comes from unprecedented pricing and amenities for an auto race. Building on the success of a Miami Grand Prix that sells itself as a place to be seen first and foremost, the Vegas GP is built on exclusivity and million-dollar, all-inclusive ticket packages. Without the hospitality staff to support those sorts of experiences, the hotels and casinos that have designed those packages would be unable to fully capitalize on one of the biggest events in the city's history.


That is a major opportunity for the union. With high-profile strikes in entertainment and the automotive industry seeing some success in recent months, members of the Culinary Worker's Union have the opportunity to use the race weekend to get casino owners to move on demands that the union says include wage increases, job security, and new security protections in the workplace. With the Super Bowl coming to town just three months later, casinos will be heavily incentivized to reach a deal.

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