Union employees ratify 5-year contract with Caesars Entertainment

An exterior view of Caesars Palace, June 6, 2013.

Union workers have secured a fresh five-year contract with Caesars Entertainment.

After almost a year of negotiations, members from the Culinary Union and Bartenders Local 165 cast ballots Tuesday night and ratified a deal that, above all else, keeps health insurance intact.

The deal mirrors a contract ratified by union workers with MGM Resorts International in late November.

Under the new agreement, there will be no pay raises for workers in the first year.

Because of rising health care costs, Caesars agreed to contribute an extra 35 cents for each hour worked toward benefits. The increase bumps the casino giant’s total contributions to more than $4 for every hour clocked by a union member and keeps health insurance free for workers.

In the second and third years of the contract, Caesars will give an extra 50 cents and 55 cents per hour, respectively, to a package that already requires casinos to pay more than $21 per hour to union funds for pensions, health care and wages.

A board of trustees decides how that money is allocated.

If health care costs remain flat in the second and third years of the deal, and money is left over, there will be wage increases.

The union pay scale differs from property to property but, Liu said, wages typically hover around $16 an hour and vary by only a few cents. That means union workers in Las Vegas are still some of the highest-paid hospitality employees in America.

“Through negotiations, Caesars and the Unions have worked together to reach an agreement that gives workers the opportunity to provide for their families. It is clear Caesars Entertainment is committed to the future of Las Vegas. The overwhelming support for the new contract shows members want a secure future with good jobs and strong benefits,” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of Culinary Union Local 226, said in a statement.