Thousands to picket Cosmopolitan as contract talks wear on

Workers picket outside Cosmopolitan over the lack of a union contract, Friday, June 14, 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 »

The last time the Culinary Union protested outside the Cosmopolitan, members chanted: “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

Well, they’re back, now planning to string thousands of red-shirted workers in a picket line outside the Strip resort from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday for the union’s fourth protest since January.

But this time the Culinary — representing about 60,000 bartenders, maids and food servers in Las Vegas — will have help.

In town for their annual convention, blue-shirted members of the California School Employees Association plan to join the Culinary in solidarity with some 2,000 hospitality employees who have been working at the Cosmopolitan without a contract for two years.

The relationship between the Culinary and the CSEA goes back to 1987, when the two organizations stood together in a strike outside the Union Plaza Hotel.

“The Culinary and Bartenders have had a long-standing and strong relationship with the CSEA,” Culinary Union spokeswoman Yvanna Cancela said. “The have stood with us in every fight.”

Cosmopolitan bosses have been pressured to ink a deal with the Culinary, which is negotiating with MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. The Culinary is seeking health insurance, 40-hour workweeks and job security.

The Culinary last picketed outside the Cosmopolitan on June 14, standing in sweltering triple-digit temperatures, shaking their fingers and chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”