Attention Free AccessVegas.com Email Subscribers! Some of you are just starting to hear about the pending Union Strike that could shut down Las Vegas as early as June 1, 2023. This is not news to our Insider Vibe (Paid) Membership. They have known about it for a month, and we’ve been mapping out what to do if they already have a trip planned this summer, or want to visit without the uncertainty!
This information is so important, we’re releasing the kind of information and experienced, helpful tips to the public for the first time in years. Normally, our sources/tips/contacts from nearly 25 years in the industry are for our paying supporters only. However, we want to get this out to our free email subscribers. Just this once.
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Hello From Las Vegas! – Well, well… we might have a major Las Vegas strike on our hands, and still, mum seems to be the word. Am I hoping or wanting one? Absolutely not. And a disclaimer before we begin:
While most of you will find some value in the general notes, members with trips planned between May 15 and July 15 of this year, or those who have maybe already taken the vacation time, are thinking about taking the time, have booked a flight but no hotel, and similar.
Please note that my thoughts are pragmatic, and aimed at the person who otherwise has no horse in the race. If you are very much anti-union or pro-union, please act in accordance with your thoughts and feelings. I’m simply concentrating on the regular visitor who either doesn’t want their vacation turned into a mess, or wants to know what to do if (heaven forbid), they show up and a strike happens.
We’ll start with a “Just The Facts, Ma’am” segment on what to do if you are booked, or if you are thinking about booking during that period. I’ll get into the nuts and bolts and politics later for those so inclined.
Help! I’m Already Committed To A Trip!
If you have already booked, and are coming, are you possibly going to be in for a mess and tons of inconvenience? Will you even have a room? Will you be able to get food?!?
How Long Will It Last? – First, any strike will most likely be short-lived. And, any hotel owner or group who is prepared to deal with one will have contingency plans in place for at least basic room changeovers. But, there might be a few hours of wait to have a room ready for you. So, keep that in mind.
I’m Still Going To Get Hungry – What about eating? The reality is that most restaurants in most Las Vegas Strip hotels are owned by third-parties. And, even though the union representing most all Las Vegas hotel workers (across the board, with the exception of table games dealers) is called the Culinary Union, they actually don’t represent a ton of third-party restaurants. Most will be open.
And, I’m certainly not going to starve. This is NOT a city-wide strike. No shortage of places to dine exist within a few minutes of The Strip.
I’m Staying Downtown. What About Fremont Street? – Same story on rooms. And while downtown hotel restaurants are more often run/owned by the hotel, East Fremont Street plus Container park, plus one block over on East Carson Avenue have no shortage of places to dine. (Google Maps is the visitors friend in this instance).
And, a couple of very important things to keep in mind: The union is negotiating separately with every hotel group or individual owner. MGM Resorts may come to an agreement while Caesars may have a strike. Of visa-versa. Sahara might settle and Strat may not. (These are simply examples and in no way reflect my opinion on what hotels will encounter a union strike).
And as noted, any strikes will likely be short-lived. The properties simply can’t handle the losses and future loss of bookings which would come with that kind of disruption. And, the union knows this.
Is There A Way To “Hedge My Bet” To Minimize Any Issues? – There might be. Some travel insurance companies will insure and pay if you deal with certain kinds of travel strikes. Just like if you book a trip and airline issue stops it, and they pay you for the loss.
I’ve never used travel insurance, and thus have never done homework on that and certainly don’t want to speak out of turn. When I give suggestions to our members, they are tried-and-true. So, I’ll leave you to your own research, reading the fine print on what various companies cover.
One Warning: The little bit of research I did notes that strikes are NOT covered if the strike is known or a threatened date is set. As I’m sending this, the Culinary Union has not publicly stated they will strike, nor set a date. If you choose to take the travel insurance route and find one that covers hotel strikes as part of their strike coverage, I’d do so without delay.
I Have Not Booked, But I Have Time Off, Already Booked Airfare, How Can I Still Visit?
So, you are thinking of coming, have the time off, but now aren’t sure? Not to worry. You actually have it pretty easy. Why? Not every hotel on or near The Strip and Fremont Street are staffed with union workers. The Culinary Union has generously provided us this map of the hotels their workers are represented at:
Notable hotel exceptions are:
The Venetian and Palazzo
Near Strip properties like Palace Station, Gold Coast, The Palms, Tuscany, Ellis Island, The Platinum, Howard Johnson’s by Wyndham, Desert Rose and more. Zoom in on that map and look for lodging that has no union designation on it.
Locals properties also not noted on the map.
I’m Not That Familiar With those Properties – If I had to pick one that is right in the middle of both price range/amenities/quality just to make things easy for you? Probably Palace Station. It sits just a stones-throw from the North end of The Strip. Literally, a baseball player with a good arm could stand on their parking garage and hit the back side of The Strip with a ball toss.
Table limits are lower, slots are looser, food prices are lower than The Strip and even downtown.
And, you are in no way confined to dining on-property. If you know how to use a stoplight crosswalk button, check out Google Maps Restaurants Near Palace Station. And, if you are willing to stretch your legs and walk just up Sahara a few blocks: Google Maps Restaurants near Sahara and Valley View. Non-union, plenty to choose from, locals pricing.
Obviously, one size does not fit all. Some of you may opt for Venetian and others, for Ellis Island. Palace is literally “I’m new to Vegas, have no clue, what is a “can’t go wrong” choice during a possible strike period for those not overly familiar with the listed options.
Nobody Is Talking About A Strike, Are You Sure?
So, will there be a strike? And, why is literally NOBODY else talking about this? Ted, are you sure they didn’t operate on your brain instead of your tummy (abdomen) during your last hospital surgery?!?
The labor issues have been in the news. However, the TV news and newspapers rely on advertising from casino companies, depend on the health of the local economy, and don’t want to see Las Vegas bookings plummet on the off-chance various strikes happen. They have bills to pay. On the other hand, we get $0.00 per month from casino companies. And, even when we do note or promote room specials, we really only get a few bucks per booking. Our MEMBERS make all of this possible. So, my top loyalty is YOU.
The Culinary has been rattling the strike saber since before last November’s election. Buried deep in a Las Vegas Sun story on how hard the union was working to elect Democrats, a union leader noted that one of the reasons is because in a strike, Democrat politicians are more labor-friendly. This was a “first shot over the bow”.
Over the past few weeks, the union has been very active in state-wide politics. Including wanting to keep COVID-era legislation in place mandating daily room cleanings and such (unless the guest opts out). Between cost-cutting and automation, local hotel employment still isn’t where it was pre-pandemic. Somewhere around 1/6 of the union’s employees are still not back to work.
If there is a time for the union to show it’s power and muster a strike to really give their members something to get behind, and to get everyone to “rally around the flag”, this might be the time. Even if it is a short strike against selected properties to show they mean business and make a huge, worldwide media splash. Especially with the mantra that “Las Vegas hotels are making huge profits while customer service suffers”.
Note: Please do NOT shoot the messenger! Earlier, I noted how to avoid union hotels if needed. Now, I’m telling you the union’s PR campaign which might hold water and resonate very well. I’m simply calling balls and strikes here.
Would I put the odds of at least some striking at above 50% now? YES. The union is canvasing middle-class neighborhoods which are of the demographic to contain quite a few hotel employee union members. I know, because I live fairly close to The Strip in just such an area. I’m seeing all of this first-hand.
Plus, the news is starting to have stories about the fight to keep higher levels of safety and service. Noting how fewer maids mean a less safe work environment, and how checking on rooms daily lets the maids get a feel for who is staying, the ability to keep an eye out for anything JDLR (Just Doesn’t Look Right, an industry term for when a property or gaming employee is seeing something, and their gut simply tells them something is wrong), and similar.
This is a PR and news union push well above anything I remember in my 29 years in town (as of this month). Hence the legitimate concerns here.
Hopefully, all will end well and this is simply precautionary. However, now you are armed with all the info you need. Just in case.
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Hope You Are Enjoying This Issue!
Las Vegs Shows
Wayne Newton is extending his residency at the Flamingo, where he first headlined as a showroom act in 1963. And this is a residency that hearkens to a time when residencies extended beyond a few weekends.
Las Vegas Dining
The Las Vegas Strip is serving up a new foodie destination that grabs flavors from around the globe.Proper Eats Food Hall is officially open at ARIA Resort & Casino. The 24,000-square-foot space lies on the second-level promenade where the resort’s buffet once stood. The food hall includes 10 elevated restaurants and a hidden entrance into Easy’s Cocktail Lounge.
Las Vegas Gambling
Celebrating Super Bowl weekend by hitting it big. A lucky winner sat down to play “Wheel Of Fortune Triple Gold Gold Spins.” The IGT Jackpots Twitter page shared news of the win Monday morning..
Las Vegas Tours & Attractions
Spring has sprung, and the flowers are in full bloom at the Lake Mead Recreational area at the Alan Bible Visitor Center. There’s a plant walk, big array of flowers and cacti all around the visitor center right now in April. Unfortunately, they won’t last very long. It’s almost like they are here today, and gone tomorrow as hot temperatures are right around the corner.
Las Vegas Sports
Thousands of football fans packed the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center Sunday evening to watch Super Bowl LVII. Erika Vela, marketing coordinator for the venue, said about 8,000 fans attended the watch party.
Las Vegas Real Estate
A ‘megamansion’ located in the Henderson neighborhood of MacDonald Highlands is the most expensive house to rent or buy in the Las Vegas area, and one realty leader says this is only the beginning for ultra-luxury housing in the valley. The property at 750 Dragon Ridge includes a staggering 30,000 square feet of indoor space spread across three separate structures.
Other Las Vegas News
Changes are on the way at the Bellagio. The casino announced they’re setting aside $110 million to renovate and transform rooms and suites in their spa tower. The spa tower includes 819 guest rooms and 104 suites.
What We’re Watching!
Vegas Videos You’ll Enjoy
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(Video Publishers Notes) We get asked quite a bit about the Monorail in Las Vegas. Questions like is it safe, is it far, is it clean, and so on. In this video we share everything that you need to know about riding the Las Vegas Monorail.
(Video Publishers Notes) Many people through out the world take vacations by themselves all the time, but yet, some people second guess if they should travel alone to Las Vegas. I can see your hesitation. Las Vegas is portrayed to be a party town that you come along with your friends, family, or your significant other. So you may wonder as to if you can still have fun just by yourself.
Well I’m here to tell you, the answer is YES. Ok yea, I know I live here, but I’m always alone here, and you can choose to take the time to concentrate on yourself, or you can choose to socialize and make new friends, of course, be careful and take some of the tips I talk about in the video. I gave you a full day’s worth of being alone that you can totally do as well, or you can choose to take it as a guideline and do whatever the heck it is you want to do. Hope you enjoy!
(Video Publishers Notes) Budget Meals Downtown Las Vegas Travel Tips
VIP Grand Canyon Skywalk Tour via helicopter trip to and from the Skywalk. Stunning views! Expedited and exclusive arrangements available.
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