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October 26, 2014

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Judge deals blow to Culinary Union effort in Station Casinos bankruptcy case

RENO - Bankruptcy Judge Gregg Zive ruled today that an informal committee of employees of Station Casinos Inc. has no standing to participate in Station’s bankruptcy proceedings.

The Culinary Union has been trying to organize casino workers at a host of Station-owned casinos in the Las Vegas area.

Zive said the 10 workers in the informal committee are not creditors or interest holders. There is no collective bargaining agreement, he said.

The informal committee includes cooks, servers, housekeepers and porters.

Kristin Martin, attorney for the 10 workers, said she would re-file a motion to gain status in the case. She said the group wants to see workers at the casinos retain their jobs.

Martin said she also wants Station to stop its "anti-union campaign."

A spokeswoman for Station said there has been an attempt for 10 years to organize the workers. It has always come up short, she said.

The union, she said, wants to insert itself into the court process.

Zive, in rejecting the motion by the workers, said "There is not a single party in the case that has indicated they would interfere with the retention of any employees (after the bankruptcy is resolved)."

Ken Liu, research director for the Culinary Union, said company records show 1,485 workers have lost their jobs since the company filed its petition for bankruptcy in July 2009.

A Station spokeswoman said other casinos in Las Vegas have also laid off workers during the down economy.

Zive opened the two-day hearing by saying an auction for 11 of the Station casinos would be held Aug. 9.

The judge said he would rule Friday on the plan for reorganization submitted by Station.

Independent vendors and bondholders have criticized the plan, which calls for secured lenders Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, the Fertitta family and Colony Capital to end up owning five casinos. Those casinos are Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, Sunset Station in Henderson, Boulder Station, Palace Station and Wild Wild West in Las Vegas.

Eleven other casinos would be put up for auction with the proceeds going to pay creditors. The Fertittas, Colony Capital and the two financial companies would submit a "stalking horse bid" of $772 million for the 11 properties.

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