Culinary Union plans to provoke arrests at upcoming protest

Ed Komenda

Culinary Union 226 member are seen being arrested after protesting on the Las Vegas strip and holding up traffic, Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013.

Culinary Protest at Cosmo

A Culinary Union member receives vocal support from fellow protesters while being cuffed with a zip tie and escorted to a bus by Metro Police Officers on Wednesday evening in front of the Cosmopolitan Resort. Launch slideshow »

More than 100 members of the Culinary Union plan to let Metro Police arrest them on the Strip for the second time this year in protest of stalled contract negotiations at the Cosmopolitan.

Billed as an act of civil disobedience, the protest will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 1. The Culinary has not announced how its members plan to prompt the arrests.

The arrests will mark the second such action since March 20, when 98 union protesters sat in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard and blocked traffic. Metro officers wrapped their wrists in zip ties and loaded them onto a police bus.

More than 2,000 Culinary picketers flanked the demonstrators on the Strip, protesting in solidarity for the 2,000 workers who have been clocking in at the Cosmopolitan for more than two years without contracts.

The union is seeking a contract that includes 40-hour workweeks and more job security and health care contributions. Union members also want contracts with a “successorship clause” that would guarantee the labor agreement would carry over in the event that the resort is sold.

Owned by Deutsche Bank, the $4-billion Strip resort has financially struggled since it opened in 2010.

The Culinary, which represents about 60,000 bartenders, maids and food servers, has been bullish in its pursuit of contracts, sometimes at the sake of its reputation among visitors.

Not long after the Culinary vowed to keep a constant presence outside the Cosmopolitan with weekly protests, video footage surfaced showing union members berating visitors, calling them “losers” and “beached whales.”

Culinary bosses have defended the tactics, contending they fall under the First Amendment.