Red Rock Casino Employees Deny Court Order to Initiate Union Bargaining

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Las Vegas Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa workers are challenging a federal district court order calling for the labor force to start initial negotiations with a union in Southern Nevada.

Earlier this month, US Federal District Court of Nevada Judge Gloria Navarro required Red Rock to honor the Culinary Union and bargain with the labor union. In her opinion, Navarro concluded that Station Casinos and NP Red Rock LLC, the casino’s parent facilities, interfered with employees’ right to unionize.

Navarro ordained that the Station Casinos’ entities significantly surged employee benefits ahead of the Union poll, influencing workers to vote against unionizing. Navarro concurred with Cornele Overstreet, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional director, claiming that Red Rock ownership didn’t allow a fair election.

As the NLRB review continues due to appeals made by Station Casinos, Navarro has ordered Red Rock management to sit with union executives to initiate employees contract term negotiation.

Culinary represents some 60,000 employees in Las Vegas, and Reno is casino resorts employee. Its members offer a set of non-gaming roles, including cooks, housekeepers, beverage servers, laundry attendants, bellhops, and porters.

Election validity

The lawsuit essentially draws to whether the Red Rock Casino election was fair. In a case filed on behalf of employees by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRWLDF), a nonprofit legal assistance agency, the contention is made that if Red Rock’s staff wanted to unionize, it would and could have.

Red Rock employees held their secret union election in December of 2019. The tally resulted in 627 “no” votes and 534 “yes” votes. Overstreet filed a federal court appeal seeking to call Red Rock to bargain with the union, based on the claims that a previous card check showed that most team members wanted to join Culinary.

NRWLDF president Mark Mix said:

“It is outrageous that the judge’s order imposing unwanted unionization brushes aside the worker’s contrary preference demonstrated in the secret ballot vote.”

Mix claims that pre-vote union authorization cards are dubious. The NRWLDF opined:

“Secret ballots are a far reliable way of gauging worker support for a union because workers are often pressured, harassed, or misled by union organizers into signing cards.”

Mix further added:

“If federal labor law is to be about defending the rights and freedoms of rank-and-file workers, then the Court of Appeals should promptly overturn Judge Navarro’s order substituting the wishes of NLRB bureaucrats for the actual choice workers made at the ballot box.”

Brief purpose

A lawsuit partner at Smith, Leah Ward Seal, Gambrell & Russell in Atlanta argues amicus briefs are filed to aid an appellate court by providing extra, relevant information and arguments the court may wish to consider before giving a ruling.

Individuals or groups not directly named in a lawsuit can submit such briefs. The arguments aim to demonstrate to the court that its ruling will significantly impact the people other than the groups directly involved.

A majority of the Red Rock employees who oppose the order to unionize showed their antagonism over the weekend in front of the Las Vegas Culinary Union headquarters. The union brushed off the protest, Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline terming it a publicity stunt.

Workers lose voice

In her petition, Overstreet argues on behalf of the employees who filed NLTB accusations that Red Rock’s actions were very solemn and significant that employees cannot hold a fair vote in the future.

Should the NLRB concur that Red Rock violated workers’ rights, Overstreet proposes solving the issue through votes cast on behalf of employees based on workers’ last signing of cards allowing the union to represent them.
Overstreet supposes that is the ideal measure of whether they want to be represented by the union.