Dealer Unionization effort continues

Wed, 17 Jan 2001

By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE

  LAS VEGAS - Casino dealers planning to organize the city's casinos 
are set to stage three rallies Thursday at the site of the next union 
representation election, the Las Vegas Hilton.
   In the aftermath of Saturday's 294 to 98 vote by Monte Carlo 
dealers against representation by the Transport Workers Union of 
America, union officials also filed federal objections to the 
megaresort's election conduct.
    Transport Workers Director of Organization Tim Grandfield said the 
union scheduled the three rallies at the Hilton to demonstrate the 
solidarity of the city's dealers.
   "Our intent is to comply with the law," Grandfield said. "We won't 
talk with the dealers, because they're working, but we will wear 
shirts with the slogan 'Table Dealers Supporting Table Dealers,' and 
we may make a few bets at the tables."

   The Hilton's dealers are scheduled Saturday to vote to decide 
whether the Transport Workers can act as their bargaining agent.
   Grandfield said the union rallies scheduled at the Hilton would be 
peaceful, and that dealers from other city casinos planned to meet at 
the Hilton at 8:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., rally and then walk 
into the casino.
   Park Place Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Scott LaPorta 
failed to return a phone message seeking comment. His company owns 
and operates the Hilton.

   After Saturday's scheduled vote at the Hilton, the Luxor and 
Tropicana dealers are slated to vote on Monday.
   Subsequent votes are scheduled at the Stratosphere and MGM Grand on 
Jan. 27; the Riviera on Feb. 9; Bally's on Feb. 10; and New York-New 
York on Feb. 17.
   The Excalibur, Treasure Island and New Frontier have union 
petitions pending before the National Labor Relations Board, but no 
election dates have been set.

   Grandfield said about 84 percent of the Hilton's employees 
submitted cards requesting Saturday's representation election, 
similar to the 86 percent of Monte Carlo dealers who submitted cards 
before overwhelmingly voting against the union's representation.
   "I think we're going to win this one, and we'll win the Monte Carlo 
on appeal," he said.
   Grandfield said the Hilton held meetings with dealers, but was less 
aggressive than the Monte Carlo in fighting the representation effort.
   Grandfield suggested that the Hilton's management had a reason for 
its less aggressive stance.
   "If a casino operator breaks federal or state law (governing the 
conduct of union representation elections), they are risking their 
state gaming licenses," he said.
   Grandfield also said the union is confident the Tuesday complaint 
it filed against the Monte Carlo will succeed.
   "We lost the election, but I'm confident we'll win on appeal, and 
that we'll get the opportunity to have another election at the Monte 
Carlo," he said.

   The union's objections to the Monte Carlo's actions center on what 
Grandfield said were threats intended to scare employees out of 
voting in favor of the union.
   The union's National Labor Relations Board filing charged the Monte 
Carlo with violating federal law by:
   -Distributing and maintaining literature in the megaresort's gaming 
pits during the 24-hour period before the election which threatened 
to close the pits and lay off the dealers if the union won the 
election.
   -Threatening to fire any dealer distributing pro-union literature 
in the dealers' break room while allowing dealers opposing the union 
to distribute ant-union materials.
   -Interrogated individual dealers to determine their support or 
opposition to the union organizing effort.
   -Held mandatory meetings on company time with dealers during the 
24-hour period before the election.

   Mandalay Resort Group Senior Vice President of Marketing John Marz 
said the union's election complaint was a face-saving gesture.
   Mandalay Resort Group operates the Monte Carlo and shares ownership 
of the property with MGM Grand.
   "When you lose an election as big as they lost an election, you're 
going to make whatever charges you can to explain the defeat," Marz 
said.
   He said the election was clean, and said the company took out 
full-page advertisements in today's Las Vegas Review Journal and Las 
Vegas Sun newspapers to thank the Monte Carlo's dealers for voting to 
support management and to let people know the election was conducted 
fairly.
   According to the papers' rate schedule, political or issue advocacy 
ads like those taken out by Mandalay Resort Group would cost about 
$8,875.
   Grandfield said he had not seen the ads, but suggested their 
purpose was to make dealers voting in future elections think the 
votes are a lost cause.
 
 
 

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