Station Casinos says it's being harassed by the Culinary Union, which wants new casinos outside the traditional areas in Reno to be subject to a public vote before they can be built.
But union spokesman Chris Bohner says there's no harassment -
that the union is interested only in protecting the jobs of its
2,000 members at Circus Circus and the Reno Hilton by requiring new
resorts to be built downtown.
Station Casinos, which is not unionized, expects to submit plans
within the next month to build a $500 million casino resort in
Brett Scolari, the Reno attorney for Las Vegas-based Station
Casinos, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that an initiative aiming
for a place on the Nov. 7 ballot is just one more tactic in 15
years of "harassment" by the Culinary Union, which has 55,000
members in Las Vegas.
Scolari said the Las Vegas union "has no more motivation than
to kill" the Reno project.
Joining the Station cause is Rich Houts, secretary-treasurer of
the Building & Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada that
represents 8,000 union construction workers. The council and its
trade unions have pulled out of the Progressive Leadership Alliance
of Nevada, which joined the Culinary Union in pushing the
petitions. Houts worries about the construction jobs for Station
Casino and about what he calls collateral damage.
"Other casinos will be looking to come in. If you have to go
through a two- to three-year process to maybe get a casino, it's
going to be bad," he said. "These casino companies may just skip
If Reno voters approve the initiative, new casinos outside
downtown - including ones the airport and convention center areas -
would be required to offer a contribution to help the city pay off
debt for the downtown Reno Redevelopment Agency. That debt now
consumes all the property taxes collected by the agency each year.
The donation also could be used for debt payments on the city's
$310 million railroad trench project.
The city would be required to put the casino contributions on
the ballot for the next general election, effectively letting the
voters decide whether the casino should be built.
The petitioners need 11,661 signatures from Reno voters by June
30 to get the question on the November ballot. Five Culinary Union
workers signed the initiative to launch the petition drive on May