This article has been saved to your Favorites!

NLRB Office Says Casinos Used Pandemic To Weaken Unions

By Danielle Nichole Smith · April 14, 2021, 7:02 PM EDT

A National Labor Relations Board regional office has hit Red Rock Resorts Inc., Station Holdco LLC and Station Casinos LLC with a complaint claiming they took unilateral actions during the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine unions.

Region 28 said in its press release Tuesday that the complaint alleges Station Casinos laid off and fired employees, got rid of their recall rights and benefits and implemented new health and safety standards without bargaining with their unions both during and after Nevada's shut down of gaming establishments.

The complaint, which also mentions 10 affiliated casino hotels in Las Vegas, says that the actions were executed "in a selective and discriminatory manner that was calculated to dilute union support among their employees," the release said.

Further, Station Casinos suggested to workers that the unions dropped the ball on representing them when they weren't timely told about changes or given the chance to bargain over them, the complaint claims, according to the release.

The region is asking that Station Casinos and affiliates be ordered to recognize and bargain with the Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501, and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 16, the release said.

"The NLRB protects employees' fundamental right to organize in order to improve their working conditions," NLRB press secretary Kayla Blado said Wednesday. "It is unlawful for employers to obstruct this collective action or retaliate against employees for exercising their rights."

According to the release, Station Casinos also illegally encouraged workers to circulate and sign "anti-union petitions" resulting in the withdrawal of recognition of the Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas as the collective bargaining representative for certain workers at Boulder Station Hotel & Casino and Palace Station Hotel & Casino.

Bethany Khan, a spokesperson for the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, told Law360 in a statement that the "92-page NLRB complaint is massive and unprecedented" and that the union is "still going through the complaint." The Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas is the joint bargaining agency for the Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165.

The release Tuesday also noted that the NLRB also initiated contempt proceedings in a separate set of cases concerning units of slot technicians employed by Station Casino affiliates. In those five cases, the agency told federal circuit courts that the casinos had been ordered to bargain in good faith with Local 501 but instead "engaged in dilatory tactics," subverting bargaining and running afoul of the courts' orders, at the direction of their parent company.

Representatives for Red Rock Resorts Inc., Station Holdco LLC, Station Casinos LLC, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501 and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 16 weren't immediately available for comment Wednesday.

--Editing by Haylee Pearl.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.