Las Vegas Strip properties making contingency plans ahead of potential hospitality workers’ strike

Managers at some Las Vegas Strip properties are readying contingency plans for a potential hospitality worker strike, including the steps a worker needs to take to serve alcoholic drinks, according to local media reports.

Some management-level workers at MGM Resorts International are training to obtain an alcohol management card, a required step in bar-related service jobs, an employee at Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) Nevada confirmed to Nevada Current

The action appears to be related to a looming strike threat from Culinary Local 226. Union officials set a strike deadline of 5 a.m. Friday and about 35,000 members are threatening to walk off 18 properties run by MGM, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts if a new five-year contract deal is not reached by then.

TAM cards are a certificate for employees that verifies they have completed alcohol awareness training required by state law. The TAM Nevada employee declined to specify how many people were participating in the training.

David Edelblute, a Las Vegas-based attorney with Howard and Howard who has worked with Strip operators, said both the union and companies are likely working on their contingency plans for a possible strike while still meeting in bargaining sessions throughout the week.

“If history is any barometer for this, both sides have contingencies in place and the impacts to both sides will be less than the catastrophic way it’s been represented on social media and other places,” Edelblute told Las Vegas-Review Journal.

Contingencies for the union include a strike fund, or money set aside for workers on the picket line. Large casino companies, on the other hand, may draw from their non-unionized workforces either in management or corporate positions.

“They have an available pool of labor outside the union that’s probably at some point in their career worked in some of these jobs, worked their way up,” Edelblute further told Review-Journal. “It’s not going to cover everything, but the hope is that you can cover enough that operations are not completely disrupted.”

Edelblute also noted that while the union created more leverage for itself by setting the strike deadline so close to the F1 event, employers may be more prepared than ever before because they practiced how to operate on skeleton crews during the COVID-19 pandemic.