Big weekend for the city

The Formula 1 (F1) Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend is going to be one of the biggest events ever held in the city. Preparations have been going on for a long time as the organizers attempt to get the track right and erect grandstands for fans.

This process hasn’t been without hitches, with construction workers reportedly working in unsafe conditions as they raced to get everything completed on time. One worker even lost his life while building a VIP grandstand at the Bellagio Fountains. Traffic disruption has been frustrating for local workers and there have been disputes with businesses about race licensing fees.

been pushing for better contracts since April

The latest stumbling block is a potential strike by 35,000 casino workers in the city. The Culinary Workers and Bartenders unions have been pushing for better contracts since April and they are prepared to strike if they do not get a satisfactory conclusion. The unions have penciled in a strike deadline of November 10 if their demands are not met, just days before the F1 race weekend’s opening ceremonies kick off on November 15.

Possible disruption

A strike would have a significant knock-on impact on properties across Las Vegas, as workers from 18 casinos are part of the union. This includes properties like Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, and the Bellagio.

Casinos have already been preparing for potential disruption – MGM Resorts has reportedly told its corporate employees to step in to replace striking workers and Caesars is offering $100,000 in prizes to staff members who work during the F1 weekend.

People have spent huge money booking rooms and tickets in anticipation of the race weekend; it is expected that over 100,000 people will visit Las Vegas for the race during what is historically the second-slowest weekend of the year for the city.

This will be the third F1 race that Las Vegas has held; the last one was in 1982.

The expectation is that Nevada will benefit to the tune of about $1.2bn in economic impact from hosting the event. F1 has been growing in popularity in the US in recent years as a result of the highly popular Drive to Survive Netflix series.

Union demands

The unions have been negotiating with Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts International for about seven months. Their members already held rallies in August and October, the most recent one resulting in the arrests of 58 workers. They overwhelmingly approved a citywide strike in September if it must come to that. It would be the first time these unions strike since 1991.

the largest wage increases ever negotiated”

While the unions have not publicized any specific figures regarding the pay raise that they seek, Union Spokesperson Bethany Khan told the Associated Press that it would be “the largest wage increases ever negotiated.”

Other demands include protection against potentially job-threatening emerging technology and the implementation of better safety policies. Some progress has been made in the negotiations for the new five-year contracts, but Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said that they are still “millions of dollars apart.”