Published 03 Dec, 2013
“Caesars Entertainment is a company that never stops wanting to take from the workforce,” said Gaming Division Director Joe Carbon, who in the last seven months organized 1,150 workers at three Caesars-owned casinos. “They’ve got their bean counters that never stop. Any little thing they can take from workers—some of your break time, your meals—they want it.”
At the end of May, 330 dealers at Paris Las Vegas casino voted to join the local in a 203-to-26 vote. Then in June, 380 workers at Bally’s Las Vegas casino voted yes in a 183-to-13 vote. And it wasn’t only Local 721 that had seen those wins coming. Months earlier, the union struck a deal with management. Tom Jenkins, the western regional president of operations at Caesars Entertainment, told the union that he wasn’t interested in prolonging the inevitable.
“We had already had wars with the company at Caesars Palace,” said Joe. “We told them we’re not leaving town. We’re here to stay.’ And they told us to prove it. So we made a deal: If the union beats you at the election process at both Paris and Bally’s, moving forward you give the union card check.” Card check allows a union to secure representation without an election if organizers collect enough signed authorization cards. “We beat them,” said Joe. “And after those wins, Jenkins kept his word. Card check is something that’s really hard to get, especially in this town.”
Card check brought Local 721 a third victory in late June with the 440 dealers at Harrah’s Las Vegas casino. For months, workers at all three casinos had been ready to join the TWU. “The dealers got tired of the givebacks without any fight,” said Joe. “Without a labor organization, you have no choice. You can either come to work the next day and work under the new conditions or quit. That’s how it was put to them.”
Local 721 is already plowing through contract negotiations with Caesars Entertainment and cementing a changed relationship with the company. “At the point where they agreed to card check, we were both tired of all the in-your-face campaigning and the constant flyers that go out on both sides,” said Joe. “They didn’t want to oppose us in another election. It’s taken us time, but we’ve now opened up relations with these people instead of having us continue to go head to head and fight with them.”