Transportation Workers of America in at Wynn
Dealers at the Wynn Las Vegas voted May 11th to unionize in a landslide, 444 to 149 in favor of representation by the Transportation Workers of America according to organizer Dennis Laux. The weekend election was sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Board and begins the process of establishing a union to represent the employees in labor contract negotions.
More after the jump…
Months in the Making
In September the Wynn Resort sought to correct the dealer bosses’ pay from the upside down model where dealers made $100,000 while their boss earned $65,000. To accomplish this Wynn management included lower level bosses to share in the dealers’ tip pool. This tip pool redistribution plan jumped the bosses close to $100,000 while cutting dealers earnings by as much as 20%. According to Steve Wynn, he had not grasped the gravity of this error until just prior to his last minute meetings with the dealers.
Wynn’s Hail Mary
In an unusual move, Steve Wynn rushed the processes to bring about a vote as quickly as possible, even delivering his last minute speech’s in person to the hundreds of Wynn dealers. In his impassioned pleas he pointed out that the tip-sharing mistake was his alone. Wynn stressed that unionizing would be a far more serious mistake, damaging the mega-resorts ability to quickly adjust and respond to the ever-shifting landscape of the Las Vegas casino industry. The Transport Workers Union of America , Wynn went on to say, “know nothing about our business.”
Enter the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)
The TWU won a major victory with almost three quarters of dealers voting for the union to represent their collective interests when sitting at teh bargaining table negotiating the labor pact. The next step in this unionization process will be the dealers under union guidance electing their officers that will then negotiate a dealers labor contract with the Wynn Las Vegas.
A Little TWU History
This isn’t the first time Tthe Transporation Workers of America have won an election to represent Las Vegas dealere. In 2001 union organizers successfully petitioned thirteen strip properties for elections to have represenation by the TWU. They lost ten, with only three low-end properties voting to unionize and only one, the New Frontier, actually reaching a final contract.
If the TWU can successfully regain the dealers lost income and avoid becoming a financial liability themselves, then this turn of events could usher in a new era of how Las Vegas treats workers. Dealer unions have never worked in the volatile Las Vegas casino business and will have to prove themselves capable of being an asset instead of just another liability, otherwise they’ll find themselves quickly de-certified and heading out of town.