& # 39; Robots can not beat us & # 39 ;: Las Vegas casino workers prepare to attack automation | News

At the Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas, a mechanical arm mixes badtails that customers order in tablets. "Galactic ambbadadors," human waitresses with shiny silver skirts, are sometimes available to deliver beverages. But the underlying message in the bar with future themes is that humans are irrelevant.

It's a novel experience, but the future that Tipsy Robot represents is one of several problems that can lead to tens of thousands of Las Vegas hotel employees attacking in the coming days.

The action could be a tourist strike throughout the city, with dozens of affected casinos.

The contracts between Nevada's largest hospitality companies – most notably MGM Resorts International – and an estimated 38,000 waiters, cooks, maids, cooks and the rest of the staff, expired on June 1. The culinary unions and bartenders, who represent the complex's workers in the negotiations for a new five-year contract, say that the wage increases, workload quotas and threats to job security posed by automation are the points key.

Caesars Entertainment reached an agreement for its 12,000 unionized workers on Friday. But the long labor negotiations of the months are paused with the other tourism companies, which together represent 25 hotels in Las Vegas.

No strike dates have been set, but staff at iconic properties such as Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Circus Circus and The Mirage are ready to picket.

This comes at one of the most lucrative moments in the recent history of the strip. The Vegas Golden Knights are skating in the final of the Stanley Cup at the T-Mobile Arena owned by MGM Resorts in its inaugural season. Bars and sports books are full of fans with hockey jerseys, which leads some to wonder what would happen if the gaming palaces were closed.

  The bars are filled with Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final at the T-Mobile Arena.

The bars are filled with Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final at the T-Mobile Arena. Photography: Jerry Lai / USA Today Sports

Of the 25,000 workers who participated in the strike vote, 99% approved the measure. By justifying the demands for higher wages, Culinary pointed to the companies' large cash flows.

"We know that MGM, for example, is making a repurchase of shares by its investors of $ 3-4 billion and we are arguing that the workers are their own best shareholders," said Bethany Khan, spokesperson for the Culinary Union . "We have been sacrificing for many years, especially during the great recession, we decided to give up wage increases so that companies can continue to be profitable, now they are, so as their best investors we want a fair share of that."

If it lasted as long as the previous strike in Las Vegas – 67 days in 1984 – Culinary estimates that the strike could cost MGM Resorts $ 200m, a very high price to pay for a fleet of robots, which represents another obstacle in the negotiations.

Machines have already replaced the "exchange girls" who once roamed the casino. Since then, preparation chefs and bakers have seen their positions decrease due to the mbadive preparation of food and the kitchen operations of the curator. More recently, the robot room service and digital billing kiosks have threatened job security.

"We know that technology is coming, but we want to have a voice in how it is implemented," Khan said. "Whether you are monitoring the robot, storing the robot, or whatever, since jobs inevitably change, workers should have the opportunity to train for these new jobs, and if they can not or do not want to, they should receive generous packages. of compensation ".

Sexual harbadment and safety are also a concern. The companies have tentatively agreed to provide alarm buttons to women who only enter hotel rooms. The unions say that management could do more to combat the aggressive badual behavior of high rollers and other VIP customers in the casino, so the union is also looking for new policies to handle those situations.

Kayla Cinnamon, waitress at El Cortez, said that although she had not experienced badual harbadment personally, she was willing to seek such protections out of solidarity with other women. "It is important that we comply with our rights, that is the point of having a union," he added.

  Members of the Culinary Union carry signs in a union hall on Friday, June 1.

Members of the Culinary Union carry posters in a union hall on Friday 1 June. Photography: John Locher / AP

Responding to disputes, casinos want to highlight the jobs they create.

In an e-mailed statement, MGM Resorts said: "We remain dedicated to negotiating a contract that demonstrates our commitment to employees and their families while our company continues to create good jobs and future opportunities in Las Vegas."

The company added: "We do not tolerate badual harbadment and we have unequivocally pledged our employees to take all necessary measures to protect them from any behavior." MGM Resorts and Culinary and Bartenders Unions are working to complete the language of the contract that expresses our mutual commitment to protect employees from harbadment in the workplace. "

Danielle Fetters, badtail waitress at the Mirage, said she is anxious about the work situation will threaten the gains already made and hopes that the union will be satisfied with what is on the table.

At the same time, Fetters and his colleagues in the casino are "legitimately concerned" that touch-screen drink ordering systems will soon diminish their roles when serving slot machine players. That software is already being tested in some casinos, where the complementary drinks are linked to the time and money that a player spends on betting.

"You used to get cigarettes, rooms and buffets and this is really great," she said. "Now they are so attached to everything, even though they are making more money, and want to get away from having badtail waitresses? Customer service is gone completely Do not start with all this BS that is there for hospitality when it is turning everything into machines It will eliminate many jobs for us, and then where do we go? everything I know for my entire adult life. "

At the Fremont Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Ivan, a waiter with a Russian accent, said the strike was a good principled stand to allow workers to share in the profits of the resorts, but not yet is worried about automation.

"Sooner or later it's going to happen, but the robots can not beat us yet, in high-volume places I do not see it, and high-end there's no way, it's a social environment too, it's not just about having a drink "


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