- Some Boulder Station employees say they are unhappy with the Culinary and Bartenders unions and have filed a petition to say goodbye.
- In response, the Culinary union filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit against Station Casinos, accusing the company of withdrawing union recognition illegally.
- Station Casinos and the bargaining groups have had several conflicts for over 10 years.
- Experts are uncertain about when or if the battle between the two sides will end.
Some Boulder Station employees say they are unhappy with the Culinary and Bartenders unions and have filed a petition to say goodbye. Employees behind the organization of the petition said collecting the signatures only took between five and six weeks.
The labor battle over the hotel-casino is not the only challenge that has faced Station Casinos and the bargaining groups for over 10 years.
Experts are not sure when or if the fight will ever end. Associate professor of hospitality at UNLV Bill Werner said the two sides are “locked in a battle” that will end bitterly. The labor relations specialist added that both are determined to become winners.
It’s unclear how many Boulder Station workers the unions represented when the petition to leave was finalized last month. Culinary Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said a majority of eligible Boulder Station workers voted for unionization in 2016, giving Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 representation of at least 570 workers.
However, the unions had limited influence at the property since no contract was signed with Boulder Station and the employees never paid union dues. Should this have happened, the workers could have joined the Culinary union’s highly valued health care plan and made other changes within the property.
Werner said that since employees “haven’t gained anything by being in the union” and “nothing has come from” the negotiations they’ve had, it’s unsurprising that currently, the majority want to be out.
A Boulder worker who requested anonymity for fear of punishment from the Culinary union said employees were tired of the union acting as a middleman between staff and the company. The worker said once the union is “gone, the open-door policy” will be in place.
Another worker at Boulder Station said the union had not met the promises the leaders made back four years ago. The employee said the leaders promised “too many things,” including health care plans and retirement benefits, which they never fulfilled.
Meanwhile, the Culinary Union is fighting back. On August 17, the union disclosed that it had filed an unfair labor practice suit against Station Casinos, accusing the company of withdrawing union recognition illegally.
In response, a Station Casino spokesperson said it wasn’t the company that rejected the union but the Boulder Station team members. The union didn’t comment further on the case.
The conflict between Station Casinos and the union goes back to more than 10 years ago. In 2010, workers signed a petition requesting the company to remain neutral and consent to a fair process as they weighed on whether to unionize. Before this, the Culinary Union had attempted to organize Station Casinos properties for years without success.