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August 20, 2014

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Culinary Union, Station Casinos trade barbs over alleged anti-union activities

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Leila Navidi

Union members walk the sidewalk during a rally and picket line organized by the Culinary Union Local 226 to condemn Station Casinos’ anti-union campaigns in front of Palace Station in Las Vegas Thursday, March 11, 2010.

The Culinary Union and Las Vegas locals casino owner Station Casinos Inc. traded charges today as the union continued its drive to organize Station workers.

The union called a news conference to charge that Station has been engaging in anti-union activities and that "Latino workers are overwhelmingly the subjects of those alleged illegal activities.''

The union noted the National Labor Relations Board, acting on a complaint filed by the union, on May 28 filed a complaint against the company alleging some supervisors at certain properties violated labor law by subjecting union sympathizers to threats of being fired, surveillance, interrogations, retaliation, discipline and discriminatory treatment.

The Culinary, representing 55,000 local gaming workers mainly on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, has also been agitating in Station's bankruptcy case.

"This media stunt is yet more of the same by the Culinary Union. There’s no new news here as they have been trying to organize our team members for at least 13 years, so their efforts aren’t unexpected,'' Station spokeswoman Lori Nelson said in a statement. "What the union fails to point out in the complaint is that under threat of dismissal by the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB), the Culinary Union withdrew all allegations that they knew were without merit to which our company would have prevailed at this early stage of the NLRB's process.

"Station Casinos will respond and defend the case vigorously and with a full and fair opportunity to be heard, will prevail,'' Nelson said.

The union said about 86 percent of the charges in the NLRB complaint involve Latino workers.

"Workers at Station Casinos are standing up to join the Culinary and Bartenders unions because they want a better life for themselves and their families," Culinary Union President Geoconda Arguello-Kline said in a statement. "The company has responded not only with an aggressive anti-union campaign resulting in the government issuing a massive labor law complaint, but with an attack that is falling overwhelmingly on Latino workers."

But Nelson disputed the union's allegations.

"The Culinary Union keeps claiming we are anti-union and it’s quite the opposite as we are pro-employee. For nearly 35 years, we have prided ourselves on treating our team members fair and with the utmost respect. I think that is evidenced by the fact that we are the only gaming company ever to be selected by Fortune magazine among their '100 Best Companies To Work For' for four years in a row,'' she said.

"We recognize and respect our team members’ right to be represented by a union if that’s what they choose to do, but we continue to be amazed that the union leadership uses its members’ due in attempting to organize our team members instead of trying to find jobs for the thousands of Culinary Union members who have been laid off during this recession,'' Nelson said.

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