Station Casinos loses, again, as federal administrative law judge orders the Fertitta-owned company to negotiate a union contract for workers at Red Rock Casino



Wednesday, April 13, 2022 


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088 

Station Casinos loses, again, as federal administrative law judge orders the Fertitta-owned company to negotiate a union contract for workers at Red Rock Casino

Culinary Union continues to urge the Gaming Control Board to investigate Station Casinos for failing to adhere to federal labor law

Las Vegas, NV - On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, Jeffrey D. Wedekind, United States Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), issued a robust 138-page decision and proposed order requiring Station Casinos’ Red Rock Casino to bargain with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions. This decision follows the temporary order issued by the U.S. District Court and affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.

The ALJ decision orders Station Casinos, to among other things:
*Cease and desist from: 

-Threatening employees that selecting union representation would be futile. 

-Promising employees benefits and improved terms and conditions of 

employment in order to discourage them from supporting or selecting union representation. 

-Granting employees benefits and improved terms and conditions of employment in 

order to discourage them from supporting or selecting union representation. 

-Threatening employees with loss of benefits if they select union representation. 

-Threatening employees with reprisals if they select union representation. 

-Threatening employees with less favorable terms and conditions of employment 

by indicating that they will no longer be treated like “family” if they select union representation. 

-Coercively questioning employees about their union sympathies. 

-Posting its employees’ images on an antiunion website without their consent and 

without a disclaimer stating that the website is not intended to reflect the views of the employees appearing on it. 

-Disciplining employees because they support union representation. 

-Assigning employees more onerous work because they support union 25 


-Refusing to recall or reinstate laid-off employees because they support union 


*Rescind unlawful disciplinary warning issued to one worker and offer another worker full reinstatement to her former job, including backpay, expenses, and benefits from her layoff since June 4, 2020.  

*Post a notice (Appendix A) to employees that reads in part:

“The National Labor Relations Board has found that we violated Federal labor law and has ordered us to post and obey this notice.


Form, join, or assist a union 

Choose representatives to bargain with us on your behalf 

Act together with other employees for your benefit and protection 

Choose not to engage in any of these protected activities.”

“Just like the Ninth Circuit and Judge Navarro, the Administrative Law Judge also saw Station Casinos’ grant of benefits right before the election at Red Rock for what it was—a poorly disguised effort to discourage workers from unionizing. This is yet another victory for workers who stood up and organized to have a union and a union contract at Red Rock Casino,” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We commend Red Rock Casino workers for their continued courage and resilience in the face of the massive anti-union campaign that Station Casinos shamefully waged against them. Station Casinos needs to stop their feeble attempts to appeal, they should immediately comply with the law, and work to reach a fair contract that would protect their unionized employees. The Culinary Union will continue to negotiate until we win a first union contract at Red Rock Casino that turns company promises into what is the standard in Las Vegas that the Culinary Union has secured over 87 years - strong union contract guarantees.”

In the decision and proposed order, ALJ Wedekind wrote: 

“Here, as fully discussed above, there is abundant evidence—both direct (e.g., the previous unlawful promise of such benefits, and other recorded statements, PowerPoints, emails, and text messages) and circumstantial (e.g., the suspicious and rushed timing and the false, evasive, and inconsistent testimony noted above regarding the relevant facts and circumstances) —that the Company’s motive for developing, approving, and ultimately announcing the new benefits and programs at the Red Rock on December 10 and 11 was to undermine the Culinary Union campaign there. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a stronger evidentiary record supporting the General Counsel’s and the Union’s allegations.”


“As indicated above, there is also abundant circumstantial evidence of Respondent’s unlawful motive, including its numerous unfair labor practices and the false, inconsistent, shifting, and evasive testimony of its managers and supervisors.”


“Although an extraordinary remedy, a public reading of the notice is warranted and appropriate here given the serious nature and scope of Respondent Red Rock’s unlawful conduct and that most of its numerous unlawful statements and threats were made orally to employees in mandatory and captive-audience meetings by high-level managers. A public reading of the notice in both English and Spanish will help to “ensure that the employees ‘will fully perceive that the Respondent and its managers are bound by the requirements of the Act.”

The Culinary Union had always maintained that Station Casinos’ Red Rock Casino seriously interfered with workers’ right to a free and fair union election under federal law in the December 19-20, 2019 NLRB union election, that the NLRB would find the company’s schemes illegal and order Red Rock Casino to recognize the union and bargain a contract. Station Casinos management announced just after the Culinary and Bartenders Unions filed for the election at Red Rock Casino, that it would be making its HMO health plan premium-free and deductible-free, and did so a few days before the election was held. Station Casinos also announced increased company contributions to workers’ 401(k) accounts.   

“Over the years we have organized, walked picket lines, did delegations, had protests, and voted to unionize because we want to be treated fairly,” said Steve Bailey, a bellman at the Red Rock Casino. “It’s been a long journey, but getting a contract to protect my coworkers and I is worth it. Having Red Rock Casino be union means everything to us.”

On July 20, 2021, the United States District Court in Nevada ordered a rare and extraordinary injunction against Station Casinos’ Red Rock Casino for their outrageous conduct during the December 2019 National Labor Board Relations (NLRB) union election at the property.  The federal court imposed a 10(j) bargaining order against Station Casinos, which mandates that the company must recognize the Culinary and Bartenders Unions as the official bargaining representatives at Red Rock Casino and begin negotiations for a first union contract immediately, even as the NLRB proceeding continues. The Culinary Union represents approximately 1,350 Red Rock Casino workers.

Nationwide, 10(j) bargaining order from the NLRB is very rare. In the Culinary Union’s 87-year history of fighting and winning for working families in Nevada, had never before been granted a 10(j) bargaining order. 

In issuing the 10(j) bargaining order in July 2021, the Judge Navarro cited Station Casinos’ “hallmark violation” of federal labor law, which the court described as “so outrageous that it undermined the fairness of future elections.” The court directed that negotiations must commence expeditiously in good faith with the Culinary Union. Should Station Casinos refuse, it faces the risk of being held in contempt of court, with possible fines and even jail time for those responsible. The Ninth Circuit later ruled November 2021 to affirm the injunction order requiring Station Casinos’ Red Rock Casino to bargain with the Culinary Union. The Administrative Law Judge recommended that the NLRB adopt a formal bargaining order. 

Culinary Union asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board in March 2022 to investigate Station Casinos’ suitability in connection with its properties’ privileged Nevada gaming licenses for failing to adhering to federal labor law. The Culinary Union is urging the Gaming Control Board to move the Nevada Gaming Commission to take disciplinary action against Station Casinos, up to and including revocation of privileged gaming licenses held by affiliates.

 “The Culinary Union is confident the State’s gaming regulators will want to take action against Station Casinos after they have reviewed the ample documentation and evidence of the company and its affiliates’ disregard of federal law, including the current allegations before the NLRB.” said Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “No one has a right to a revocable, privileged Nevada gaming license - gaming regulators have a duty to make sure license-holders, like Station Casinos, are always operating in way befitting Nevada’s gold standard of gaming industry regulation.”

Workers at 9 Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties are fighting for a union contract: 

Boulder Station (September 2016)*, Palace Station (October 2016)*, Green Valley Ranch (November 2017)*, Sunset Station (June 2019)*, Fiesta Rancho (June 2019)*, Fiesta Henderson (September 2019)*, Red Rock Resort (December 2019)*, Texas Station (April 2021)**, and Santa Fe (April 2021)**.  

*NLRB union vote dates. **Pending NLRB complaint seeking an additional bargaining 10(j) order.  

Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR) became the parent company of Station Casinos through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2016. The company is controlled by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, major supporters of the former president, Donald Trump. In the largest private-sector organizing drive in the country, largely immigrant workers have risen up against billionaire Fertitta brothers, who (along with their immediate family) remain major funders of Republicans, including $46,400 to Adam Laxalt for Senate, $23,200 to April Becker for Congress, and $1,085,200 to Take Back the House 2022.

Station Casinos has said many times that it would respect its employees’ right to hold an NLRB election:

*“We have said all along that if a fair and lawful election is held we will abide by the results.” - Richard Haskins, president of Station Casinos (Las Vegas Review Journal – September 1, 2016)

*“We…support their right to join a union if they so choose as that decision is theirs, not ours, to make.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun - February 12, 2016). 

*“We’ve always respected our employees’ right to join a union if that’s what they want to do.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun - January 20, 2016)

*“Station Casinos officials have said they are willing to allow a secret-ballot vote” (Las Vegas Review Journal - October 7, 2014)

*“The decision to join a union belongs to our team members, and we respect that right.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Sun – August 29, 2014)

*“We’ve made it really clear that the door is open for a secret-ballot election.” - Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Wall Street Journal – March 22, 2013) 

*“Station saying a secret-ballot election is allowed and welcomed.” (Las Vegas Sun – January 22, 2012)

*“If the employees choose they wanna be in the union, then that’s their choice.” – Lorenzo Fertitta (Heavy MMA – September 2, 2011)

*“We have always recognized our team members’ right to be represented by a union if they so choose.” – Lori Nelson, Station Casinos spokeswoman (Las Vegas Review Journal – February 17, 2011) 


Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.  

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.  

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.  

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples. 

Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting and winning for working families in Nevada for 87 years. / @Culinary226 


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