Members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 protested outside the non-union Cosmopolitan Casino. The Cosmo is one of the few nonunion casinos remaining on the Las Vegas strip. The union members haven’t used civil disobedience, the tactical use of non-violent law breaking, in over twenty years. As a result of this display of disobedience, and flexing of union-rights, traffic was blocked in both directions for over an hour on the same block as the Bellagio, Aria, and Planet Hollywood Casinos.
Tourists watched from an overpass across the street as the red clad casino workers were bound by zip ties and put into the white police bus, as chants of No work No peace rose up from the street. Many tourists were not aware of the dispute as James Lewis of Australia told sources “I didn’t know there was an issue here, I come from a place where health care is free, so some things are completely foreign”. In another instance a couple was surprised as they were booed by the workers for crossing the picket line.
In 2010 a majority of service workers at the Cosmo signed cards saying they wanted union representation Culinary union workers receive free health care and above average wages. As demonstrator Janet Hill was being put in the back of the police transport she said, “They need to give workers here a contract, it affects us all.” Hill is a porter for the Flamingo Hotel.
There are rumors that Deutsche Bank, the German bank that initially invested in the Cosmo, is stalling to give union workers a contract because the bank plans to sell the casino and doesn’t want to be burdened with contract issues.
Cosmopolitan Casino spokeswoman Amy Rosetti told the media “Management is continuing to negotiate with labor to find a fair agreement. Rosetti also said that the union was in talks with casino management not Deutsche Bank itself.
Other Non-union Las Vegas casinos include: The Venetian, The Hard Rock, and The Palms casinos.