Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Strike Over, For Now 

Some 700 workers at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas who went on strike over the weekend are now back at their jobs as of Monday morning. 

However, an agreement on new contracts has yet to be reached between the influential Culinary Union and Virgin Hotels management. 

The strike may be off for now. But if the negotiations — which are set to resume on May 14 — aren’t successful, then further walkouts could happen. 

Over the weekend, Virgin Las Vegas’ operations were not hugely disrupted by the walkout of around half its staff. Admin and back office workers apparently stepped in to fill hospitality job shifts throughout the day.

Despite the presence of picketing workers on Friday, Virgin Hotels said they were almost fully booked for the evening. 

Virgin is the last holdout operator in Sin City that hasn’t negotiated new contracts with union workers in the past year. Over the weekend, the operator also filed legal action against the Culinary Union over the strike. 

Sending a Message 

Although they would have no doubt welcomed a suitable contract offer, union representatives acknowledged the limited impact of a two-day strike when absent positions can be filled temporarily. 

But it believes a long-term strike threat could still sway Virgin Las Vegas bosses. 

“At this point, the decision was to send a message — a two-day strike and see if the company does the right thing,” said Secretary Treasurer of the Las Vegas Culinary Union Ted Pappageorge, speaking on the picket line Friday. 

“But the reality is there’s long-term damage when you have a long-term strike for the company, and we’d like to try to get a contract.”

Some workers and union reps on the picket lines also remonstrated with some customers visiting the property and with temporary workers filling in shifts. Representative Stephen Horsford (D-04) visited the workers on the lines on Friday and spoke to union reps. 

Workers say that the contracts so far offered by Virgin do not match the standards of similar-sized operators on the Las Vegas Strip.

“This company is proposing zero wage increases for the next five years,” Pappageorge said. “Meanwhile, they’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars that they are spending, buying and renovating the property. We’re not going to let them tear down our standards here in Las Vegas.”

Virgin’s Response 

For its part, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas says it hasn’t seen the same bumper revenues as some Sin City casinos have over the past year. 

“We need them to be realistic. We’re a small, independent hotel,” said Virgin Hotels Las Vegas President Cliff Atkinson, speaking on Friday. 

“We did not have the earnings call that Wynn and MGM had in quarter one. It’s no secret that we’ve been repositioning and that we’ve had our challenges, and we need every partner’s help to move that forward.”

Almost every other major casino resort in Las Vegas has agreed on new contracts with workers over the past year. The union says it gave operators a longer negotiation period because of the hotel’s restructuring and management changes. 

The property was formerly the Hard Rock Hotel before new management came in and took up the Virgin brand in 2021. It also just recently announced the end of its partnership with Connecticut-based tribal operator Mohegan Gaming, which currently runs the casino part of the property. 

Negotiations with the union and the casino resort are set to resume on Wednesday. However, with potential legal action from Virgin in the cards and neither side seemingly willing to budge so far, it remains to be seen how fruitful they will be.

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