What would culinary strike mean for downtown Las Vegas?


Video by ktnv.com

What would culinary strike mean for downtown Las Vegas?

By Victoria Spilabotte. CREATED Mar 28, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The votes are cast and the ballots tallied. Las Vegas could be heading for a strike.

The Culinary Union announced on Thursday that members voted overwhelming to authorize a strike. There are about 5,000 union members.

Inside the Fremont hotel-casino in bustling downtown, Kevin Purvis works as a chef at the buffet, "I enjoy where I work, it's not a task. I'm one of the few who loves what I do."

Despite the love of the job, Purvis joined thousands of other workers on Thursday to send a strong message to ten downtown hotels.

The culinary workers voted for the union to call a strike if a contract's not reached, that includes pensions and health benefits.

"We have families, we are family people and our families need to go to see the doctor, they need healthcare," said Purvis.

But since the vote, the union said it hasn't heard from any of the hotels.

Geoconda Arguello-Kline said, "We are open to sit down with the company and have negotiations with them."

Most of the hotels that haven't settled contracts are located on Fremont Street, but it might be too soon to tell how a potential strike would impact the downtown economy.

There hasn't been a union strike since the battle with the Frontier in the 90s. But that was one property. A strike now could devastate downtown.

"The casinos downtown don't make a lot of money and they are still coming out of the recession," said Bob Coffin, Las Vegas city councilman.

If the strike happens, casinos could bring in other non-union workers or try to operate on a skeleton staff.

"There's got to be a compromise. That's what we want. We want to meet right in the middle," said Purvis.

Action News reached out to several downtown properties on Friday, but hotel representatives said they won't talk about pending negotiations.

The union said it will stage a picket line next month where workers can sign up for their strike benefits.