Labor Board Says Casinos Undermined Unions in the Pandemic
The National Labor Relations Board has accused casino companies of undermining unions during the pandemic.
A regional office of the National Labor Relations Board have filed a complaint against casino operators due to actions taken during the pandemic. Red Rock Resorts, Station Holdco LLC and Station Casinos LLC have been accused of undermining unions by using the coronavirus as an excuse to fire or lay off employees with benefit cuts.
In a press release earlier this week, Region 28 said that Station Casinos choose to lay off and fire employees. They took away recall rights and benefits, plus added new standards for health and safety. All of this was done without speaking to the unions during and after the shutdown of casino facilities in Nevada.
The complaint lists 10 casino hotels associated with Red Rock/Station Casinos in the Las Vegas area. The actions by the operator were alleged to have been completed in a selective and discriminatory manner to dilute union support for employees.
Station Casinos reportedly told employees that the unions were not representing them as they should be when they were not told about the changes or given an opportunity to bargain based on the changes.
What happens now?
The group is now asking for the operator and affiliated companies to recognize and negotiate with several unions including Local 501, International Union of Operating Engineers, District Council 16, Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas and more.
The NLRB works to ensure that employees have the right to organize to improve their working conditions. It is not lawful for the employer to obstruct the action or take action against workers for exercising their rights to do so.
The release by the group said that Station Casinos encourage workers to sign and pass out anti-union petitions. This is an illegal action and it led to the withdrawal of recognition within the Local Joint Executive Board for some employees who worked at Palace Station and Boulder Station.
No Stranger to Union Issues
The issues surrounding Station Casinos and unions is not surprising, given the issues the company has had in the past with unions. Just over a year ago, several properties owned and operated by Station Casinos had employees vote for union representation. This included Sunset Station, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch Resort, and other venues.
At the time, Station Casinos did not bargain and would not finalize union contracts. They said the union was taking part in objectionable conduct in its effort to unionize the employees of its venues. A federal agency that enforces labor laws in the United States say it is unfair labor tactics to refuse to bargain with employees.
There is however, no strict penalty against companies that do this, so Station Casinos was not affected in a major way by not dealing with the issue. At the time that the dispute was taking place, many employees were facing layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this new complaint against Station Casinos, it is unclear if anything will be done to the operator for failing to provide the bargaining process for employees. Did the company continue to act in bad faith because they were not punished before? Or are the unions out of line and the company did nothing wrong?
It is all a huge mess and will have to be straightened out in some form or fashion. Will changes be made to benefit the employees? Or will the stance of the company stand? We will continue to monitor the situation and report on new details as they are made available. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused strain on the industry as a whole, with operators wanting to stay in business and employees hoping to stay employed. We shall see what happens over the next few weeks as the complaint is addressed.