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Station Casinos versus The Culinary Union
Station Casinos versus The Culinary Union

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AIR DATE: February 20, 2012

The presidential race isn't the only political battle on TV. Station casinos is running ads denouncing the Culinary Union for its tough anti-business tactics as it tries to organize Station workers. The Culinary Union is running ads denouncing Station's greed and racism in firing Hispanic workers. It's not far from all out war. We talk with both sides to see what is at stake and where the battle is headed.
 
GUESTS
Lori Nelson, Dir of Corporate Communications, Station Casinos
Michael Wagner, bartender at Green Valley Ranch and an organizer for Culinary Union Local 226
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    COMMENTS:
    Everybody seems to forget that a union is a business, i dont believe they have an interest in the employees at the Station Casinos, its about the money they can generate, 12000 employees = abot $580,000 just in monthly union dues,then theres the money the casinos have to put into each workers health fund and union pension for every hour worked, then there is a union trainingg fund also that the hotel has to put into and so on,what does the union give you? and in a time when the economy is bad, at least the workers could have looked for a stronfer union, i work at a culinary union hotel, since 1996 i have been moved to graveyard when the economy went down, then laid off, now im on call the casino i work at has at least half employees on call, they tell there shareholders they are doing good and the union the opposite to so they can keep people on call, and as long as your on call you still pay union dues ,6 hour days dont cut it, some fellow employees work maybe 3 times a month, ther is so many things wrong at this union casino, just like in the others, and the union is a push over when they meet with casino co., if stations goes union ,1/2 workers better be ready to get layed off
    HgdvlMay 4, 2012 11:53:46 AM
    Typical union bullshit!! If you're that unhappy quit and go to a union house and see how much you like it. I've worked for gvr for 10 yrs and they have provided me with a stable income and 3 homes. You guys want to rip your employer but don't have the guts to say who you are, pathetic! Unions feast on the weak with their fear mongering and propaganda, if you buy into it, you're stupid!! -Chris Albrecht, come see me cowards!
    chris albrechtApr 15, 2012 19:33:00 PM
    This is people right to choose what they want the union actually has a better retirement plan and medical plans for their workers and union representation when their is a issue for instance a company cannot get rid of you because they don't like you. And it is great that you have worked for GVR for 10 years but no job anywhere is secure anymore. I had a job for 30 yrs but I no longer have it and nobody should be threatened to be fired if they want to belong to the union.If station casino violated union workers rights well we will see. but station casino has won everything including ability to go into bank-cruption and come out with flying colors so they will suceed again against the union because las vegas depends on casino's which I also loved working for for many many years.But all companys should take responsibility for their actions in treatment of their employees, wether it is stations, mgm and a company that isn't a casion all these companys should be like google,and zappo"s kindness and fairness gets a good faithful worker not threats if all companys were like google and zappo's the world would be a better place to work.
    georgeApr 23, 2012 02:58:22 AM
    zappos is anti union, the station casinos need me in their ads,some people work two jobs at a non union, and a union, cant have two fulltime union jobs since you would take a union job away fron a union worker,and remember these station casinos cater to locals we all go to them, if it goes union everything is going to up in prices, bye bye 10 buffett, need to make money for the union funds, and the union does not care to help workers full time jobs, they just want union paying members, the casinos would rather have more on calls working, then full time, and the union just wants union paying dues workers, so what if you wrk 6 hrs, 4, hrs, or only 1 to 3 times a month just make sure you pay your union dues, i didnt see the union help me with union dues when i was layed off or now that i am on call , and when i asked for the new amended contract after about what seemed three years to get, and the union hall finally had them i was told since, iv'e been layed off i cant have one, till i start paying the full amount of monthly union dues, since they changed me to the 10 cheaper union member, which supposedly only had access to get a union job referral, union should go to Smith Center
    HgdvlMay 4, 2012 12:14:53 PM
    I think everyone who is commenting that is a Team Member really needs to step back and be THANKFUL that you have a job. Be THANKFUL that you got a $500 bonus, even though it may only equate to $1.37 a day. There are people who have been let go from Union Establishments who are now struggling to feed their families. The Union tells them they will be first in line for a job, but it's not true. The Union charges dues even when you are not employed. Let the Fertittas do their thing, it's been working great for a while now. I love my job, you should too.
    MyselfFeb 26, 2012 16:19:35 PM
    Working for a union is great, no complaints. And to let you know you are not obligated to pay union dues, no one has to pay those. The reason I choose to pay union dues is in case there are issues where we need to go to arbritation for a specific situation. Us union members want to help those of you that are not in a union and help to get the safer job security you need. It doesn't matter which casino you work for, if its a non-union bar then guess what? This is a right to work state, but thats why the union protects us or at leasts gives us a better shot at a long term position.
    KathyApr 19, 2012 23:33:51 PM
    With all regret, I also work for stations and have to admit this is the most corrupt place I have ever seen in my life. GM Don R is a bully. He walks around the casino floor, bars, and restaurants and micro manages everyone. At the same time, the food at employee cafeteria has seen its better days (before Don). Uniform control is outsourced to outside company; they got rid of the nicest ladies ever. People working part time status have no benefits at all. Food and Beverage manager Marissa is clueless, hiring friends of hers, and friends of her favorite employees. She is drinking at the job, I was told by other coworkers. Buffet food is the worst in town, what a disappointment. On the top of that they keep everyone in check, fear and nobody knows if they going to have a job tomorrow because the manager might not like them. No raises since 2007. During 5 years they offered $500 bonus only for Ft employees that have been with company more than a year. When they announced that I was still Part Time, so I didnt get any. This place needs a third party representation without a doubt.
    J the worker Feb 18, 2012 13:12:17 PM
    What you say is true, would like to add they monitor team member surveys and they know who writes what and they pull them to office and try to get rid of you whenever possible. I am not pro union but I think it is time to stand up and maybe that will resolve all the issues . Go union.
    Chris kFeb 18, 2012 16:46:08 PM
    One other thing that must be corrected here is that it takes more than 50% to be recognized, not 30%! I know that the Culinary Union has far more than that but they want a high majority so there is no doubt! I must commend Mr. Wagner for holding his own against the Station's corporate mouthpiece. Kudos sir.
    ThinktankFeb 17, 2012 14:50:24 PM
    I am union bartender in LV. Our ability to make a respectable wage and secure the American Dream is in jeopardy. It is imperative that we assist these workers to unionize! One thing is for sure...the culture and demands of this city are changing and we as workers need to take ownership of our crafts, be responsible in our actions and be a viable employee for any employer! We should act and perform like a highly skilled workforce. These companies want to roll back wages, prove them wrong and put engaement in your daily walk. Let's go union!
    ThinktankFeb 17, 2012 14:15:31 PM
    leave us alone, we're doing fine without your union. You want to pay a middle man to extort money from you, be my guest but don't push your agenda on me or my family. Unions are for weak minded people who can't think for themselves and get manipulated into thinking the union cares about them, news flash, they care about your money, you're nothing but a $40 due per check buddy, wake up!!
    chris albrechtApr 15, 2012 19:45:46 PM
    This is for chris albrecht. Sadly sir you are mistaken. First, union workers only pay $40 per month, not per check unlike station workers. Second, union workers are not weak minded people. Do you remember the Frontier Strike? Did those weak minded people give up on their jobs, fair pay and benefits? no. My mom was in that strike and so was I (I was 8 then). Third, would you rather pay premiums and high deductions while union workers either get free or pay $12-15 copay? Union will always be better than non union
    Adrian MirelesOct 3, 2012 08:38:59 AM
    Lori Nelson sounds very mean and bitter. I wonder if she is the same Station's executive in the anti-union ad. I'm sure its so frustrating for her and the other executives that their employees want fair pay and a safe work environment. How dare they!
    LauraFeb 17, 2012 11:16:53 AM
    I disagree. Station's spokesperson doesn't sound mean and bitter at all. She's willing to have an open dialogue. It's Mr. Wagner that sounds very hostile.
    WillFeb 25, 2012 16:51:26 PM
    I am a Culinary Union Shop Steward and am actively fighting for Stations Employees. The insurance benefits are the best in the country, the benefits alone are worth fighting for. The rest is the icing on the cake. I know how good I have it and how good it will be for stations employees. Keep fighting stations workers pass the word.
    Andrea Feb 16, 2012 23:39:31 PM
    "A Company" has the right to run it the way it sees best. If an employee does not agree with the method in which a company is run, then they should not work there. Welsome to a small business where it is run the way the owner sees best. Mr. Wagner is greatly mistaken thinking that the Culinary Health Insurace is "better" than the Station Insurace. Both insurances are horrible. They are just as horrible as HPN and Sierra. Culinary Health Insurance is based not on the patient's well being, but with cost containment and not providing adequate payments and coverage to physicians; they expect vaccinations to be covered by the government instead of Culinary paying for it.
    OwenFeb 16, 2012 21:08:45 PM
    Actually I have worked union casinos before. I had to have knee surgery. It came out to be $23,000. I paid $75. No coinsurance just that. Sure if you have a full time job with station you might think you have it made but just on insurance alone what is it going to cost you if you have to have abhor surgery?? That makes up for the 40 a month the union wants you to pay. Which as someone stated earlier you don't even have to pay it. I worked at the Wynn and knew several people who got the benefits without paying the dues. As far as becoming full time, that is the problem with stations. They keep a majority of people part time or on call so they done have to pay benefits. It's a cheaper way for them to get around it. I've had several friends who worked for stations for years and seeing full time people leave in their departments and they never fill them, just leave them as part time. As far as the pay. I work at GVR. They have a sign saying best pay for the best employees. Wrong!!! I made more as a fine fining server per hour than I do as a bartender. I'm getting paid about 5-6 dollars an hour less than if I were union. The cocktail servers I work with are making 7-7.50 less an hour.
    DonnieJul 27, 2013 09:33:40 AM
    It only takes 30% of the employees to successfully organize for a vote. The fact that the union has not been able to do so should speak volumes. Before saying that it is because of Station's illegal activities, the NLRB would have slapped fines/sanctions on them if that was the case. They take that sort of thing seriously, especially in a union town. I find it interesting that every time the union rep could not provide factual answers to the questions posed that he cried foul and had no valid response.
    BrianFeb 16, 2012 10:26:17 AM
    What good is it to match a 401k if the employee can't afford to contribute? What good is a ppo if the employee can't afford the deductible and co pay? What is stations afraid of? What good is a 500 dollar bonus? That's less the $1.40 a day for a year. Less then ten dollars a week. What does that do for anyone? If stations really cared for their employees they would sit at the bargaining table and work out a contract that shows they care for the best interest of the workers.
    JenniferFeb 16, 2012 10:00:32 AM
    I have lived in Las Vegas for over 5 years. My family and I were patrons of Stations Casinos but after finding out about their labor practices and their militant unwillingness to let their workers organize I stopped going to there. I haven't set foot in a Stations Casino in almost 3 years and I will continue to spend my money at other, labor-friendly casinos until Stations lets their workers organize. Workers rights deserve protecting and as long as this company continues to put their workers rights at risk, my family, my friends, and myself will be spending our money elsewhere. This is Vegas after all, there are no shortage of alternative casinos to go to.
    Amy A.Feb 16, 2012 09:52:05 AM
    Shame on both of you. Kudos to the dentists that the Fertittas brought in to get their people camera ready, thevideo guys that shot the spots, and the TV stations that benefit from this hostility. I'm not Latino, but I was "unhired" by Stations the night before I was due to report to my first day of work at Sunset Stations. They claimed that it was because I had a background of working at organized venues. Totally illegal. Look at the egregious tactics that the Fertittas have been pulling regarding their bankruptcy, and the buying up of the neighborhood around Palace Station, and the way that they run the UFC. Stations approached me about buying some property that I have, but the price went up exponentially.
    ann Feb 16, 2012 09:44:28 AM
    My mother worked for Green Valley Ranch since the casino opened and recently quit. The horror stories she would tell me on a daily basis, as she came home in tears every night, were completely atrocious. There is no casino chain in the State of Nevada who treats their employees worse than Stations does. My mother worked for Culinary on the strip for 12 years and the difference is night and day. Stations management treats their employees like slaves while the union actually gives workers a recourse.
    David T.Feb 16, 2012 09:42:39 AM
    This whole conversation seems very one sided.
    Gary AllenFeb 16, 2012 09:41:40 AM
    Generally speaking I do not support unions. All too often, employees become careless, lazy and conduct themselves with a sense of entitlement. Having said that, I would like to know if it is true that employees have not received a raise in 5 years.
    Jaye PalazzoFeb 16, 2012 09:37:01 AM
    As a 15yr. employee at station casino i can tell you that its true no raise in 5yrs
    ToyFeb 16, 2012 21:12:47 PM
    Oh it's true all right. just go and talk to a few stations workers. I know a few. It's true. They also pay almost $200 a month for their insurance benefits a month. So let's see. They get paid almost $5 less an hour, plus pay almost $200 a month for benefits and have no representation should they need it. Culinary workers pay no insurance premiums or deductibles. Only copays.
    AndreaFeb 17, 2012 00:27:09 AM
    I agree that employees that merit a wage increase should get their due. So shame on Station's for not being smart enough to reward employees to stay. With that said, I don't empathize with employees that stay 2, 5, 10+ years at a place of business that they feel are not treating them adequately. If you want a better opportunity and it's not happening where your currently situated, leave and go find it.
    WillFeb 25, 2012 16:58:03 PM
    Its true. The employees are stations havent recieved a raise in 5 years, but until recently. They got a raise of 0.25 cents. 0.25 cent?!?!?! WTF!?!?!? Im a union worker and always have been. Its sad the I get paid more to sell coffee than a person who gets paid a food runners wage, but has to do a cook helper's job (ie my mom).
    AdrianOct 3, 2012 08:32:32 AM
    Corporate casinos want their "team members" to be good little wage slaves and just shut up and bring in more loads of cash for the people who matter.
    Elizabeth CookFeb 16, 2012 09:26:57 AM
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