Talk of a pro-union movement among dealers at the Wynn Las Vegas resort took a step closer to reality on Friday. The Transport Workers Union of America disclosed that it had filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking certification as union representative for Wynn’s dealers.
The petition, filed April 9, declared the Transport Workers had the support of 30 percent or more of the dealer workforce, although employee representatives put their number at 60 percent-plus of the 680 Wynn dealers.
On the same day, AB 357, which would have put an end to the controversial tip-appropriation policy currently in effect at Wynn Las Vegas, died in the Nevada Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. According to Wynn dealers and to an e-mail leaked to the Business Press, no member of the committee, which is chaired by Bernie Anderson (D-Washoe County), spoke in support of AB 357. The now-defunct bill had been authored by freshman Assemblyman Bob L. Beers (R-Henderson).
The news from Carson City “really brought me down when I first heard it,” said Wynn dealer Jesse Guest. “The chairman of the committee itself was a former dealer. I assume it’s going to disappoint everybody and that’s just going to add to our resolve.”
Guest’s colleague, baccarat dealer Dennis Laux, took it even harder. “I’m naturally disappointed because I thought it had a lot more supporters,” he said. “It’s one more reason to doubt politicians in this country. These people don’t even stand up and speak for us and we elected them into office.”
According to Guest, a hearing with the NLRB, to determine the electoral process, will come next followed, he hopes, by a vote within a month, “give or take a couple of weeks. That’s assuming (Wynn executives) don’t try to delay the process.” Wynn spokeswoman Denise Randazzo could not be reached for comment by press time.
Questions from Wynn Resorts attorneys to Nevada Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek “entered the picture very late,” in terms of motivating dealers to sign union cards, reported Laux. The queries, made by the firm of Kamer Zucker & Abbott, floated scenarios for reducing salaries and raising insurance premiums at Wynn Las Vegas. “They just didn’t show any care for us at all,” Laux continued. “There’s a lot of people that are afraid they’re not going to be able to insure their families or it’s going to cost them an extreme amount. We need to find some way to protect us.”
As for whether the newly militant dealers at Wynn will be able to maintain their pro-union majority until a vote can be taken, Laux predicted “it’s gonna be a struggle because I’m sure the Wynn’s going to come at us with both barrels.”
Guest’s response was unequivocal. “Absolutely,” he avowed. “I know (Wynn management) have hired Mark Garrity,” he said, referring to an anti-union campaigner previously retained by Wynn, Boyd Gaming, Harrah’s Entertainment and MGM Mirage.
“I know that he’s a professional and that (Garrity) leads a strong campaign, but the fact remains that Steve Wynn took 20 percent (of tip income) and there’s nothing Mark Garrity can do to change that. Mark Garrity is just wasting his money,” added Guest.
Garrity and the Transport Workers have clashed before. In 2000-03, he represented The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, The Mirage, Bellagio, MGM Grand Casino Hotel, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Stardust Resort & Casino to “do everything lawful to avoid contamination by TWU intervention.” In all instances, Garrity prevailed over the TWU.