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Labor Dispute Escalates in Las Vegas

December 7, 2012

Workers at casino-hotels owned by Station Casinos LLC and operated by Fertitta Entertainment LLC continue to pressure the company to let them organize freely, after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on October 2 unanimously and completely rejected the company’s appeal from the findings of an administrative law judge that it committed 87 unfair labor practices in its anti-union campaign.

Station Casinos, the worst labor lawbreaker in the history of the Nevada gaming industry, is privately owned by Deutsche Bank of Frankfurt and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta of Las Vegas, among others.

Before its latest legal setback, Station Casinos had tried to dismiss the NLRB judge’s findings that the company broke federal labor law:

  • On September 23, 2011, company senior vice president of human resources Valerie Murzl said the company was “confident” that, on appeal, the NLRB would rule that “in no instance did Station Casinos violate any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act.
  • On September 26, 2011, one of the company’s attorneys, Peter Pantaleo of DLA Piper, said that the ULPs to be reviewed by the NLRB were “not even worth the price of admission.
  • On April 20, company spokeswoman Lori Nelson described the ULPs found by the judges as “technical violations.”

Now, as ordered by the NLRB, the company has posted a Notice to Employees in all its facilities that states: “The National Labor Relations Board has found that we violated Federal labor law and has ordered us to post and obey this notice.” The notice informs employees of their rights and what the company will and will not do according to the NLRB’s broad cease-and-desist order. The company may still appeal to federal court.

Station Casinos discloses in its Oct. 19 SEC filing that “We believe we have very good employee relations.” Investors in the company, especially its lenders, should ask the company whether management and legal strategy that led to the repeated violation of federal labor law continues.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, have supported the organizing campaign at Station Casinos through rallies, mass arrests, and ongoing efforts to alert customers to the company’s anti-union attacks against its own employees.

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