Las Vegas’ Venetian And Palazzo Workers Agree To Union Deal For First Time

Written By J.R. Duren on July 11, 2023
Las Vegas Venetian Casino Hotel Exterior and Culinary Workers Union 226 logo

A recent change in ownership at Las Vegas hotels Venetian and Palazzo paved the way for a labor agreement between four unions and workers at the two properties. They were the only two casinos in Las Vegas without union deals.

The agreement ends decades of struggles between the properties’ former owner, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and employees at casino hotels across the nation.

“As union organizers continue to have conversations with workers at the Venetian/Palazzo, we are respectfully listening to what is important to workers, what they would like to preserve, and if there are improvements they would like to see implemented.

Our unions look forward to the opportunity to bring the Las Vegas union standard, combined with the unique practices and benefits currently offered, to the Venetian and Palazzo workers,” a joint statement from the four unions said.

The four unions involved in the deal are the:

  1. Culinary Workers Union Local 226
  2. Bartenders Union Local 165
  3. Teamsters Local 986
  4. Operating Engineers Local 501

2022 sale of Venetian and Palazzo opened the door for a union win

Las Vegas Sands, the previous owner of the Venetian and Palazzo, was notorious for fighting against unions. Former owner Sheldon Adelson leveraged good pay and benefits to convince employees to avoid unions, the Nevada Independent reported.

However, his efforts eventually failed in two key ways. First, Adelson took Las Vegas’ culinary union to court over protests the union held at the Venetian. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled the union had a right to protest.

Then, in 2017, security guards at the Sands Bethlehem Casino in Pennsylvania became the first Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino-hotel workers to successfully unionize, as reported by The Guardian in 2017.

The Bethlehem labor win didn’t lead to a tsunami of unionization at Las Vegas Sands properties. But it marked a significant victory against Adelson’s company.

And when Las Vegas Sands Corp. sold the Venetian, Palazzo, and Venetian Expo convention center to Apollo Global Management VICI Properties in 2022, it destroyed the grip that Sands Corp. had over its employees.  Adelson’s influence was gone and, on top of that, the unions had already worked with Apollo on union deals at other properties.

The unions commented in their joint statement:

“Our unions have historically worked with Apollo Global Management in Las Vegas and in other major metropolitan areas across the United States and we are hopeful as thousands of workers, employed at the only two non-union casinos remaining on the Las Vegas Strip, will have the opportunity to choose whether to unionize while management remains neutral and respects their choice.”

Photo by Joe Cavaretta / AP Photo; illustrated by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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