Grand Sierra Employees Threaten To Strike

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

Members of the Culinary Workers Union say they are hoping to come to an agreement with Grand Sierra before they take any action.

The Grand Sierra employs about 1,000 union members, all represented by the Local Chapter 226. Members include housekeepers, kitchen staff, food servers and bussers, almost every type of worker.

The Culinary Union negotiated their last contract back in 2001...and that deal expired last year...leaving members unprotected. Chief Negotiator Kevin Kline says employees get by on mediocre wages, as a trade off for low health care costs.

"We've invested all of our money, instead of with wage increases, with the health plan. It's free for individuals and $30 for family plans and we want to keep it that way. The company is proposing to increase family coverage to $173 a month. That's almost a 500% increase."

Kline says Grand Sierra also wants to cut vacation time, lunch breaks and holidays.

"Their first economic proposal to us was also their last and final proposal, which is not a proper way of doing negotiations."

Mary Marshall has been a bartender at Grand Sierra for 22 years. She says part of her longevity with the company has to do with their great health care plan...and now she's worried it's going to be taken away.

"A lot of people I work with have kids, they have mortgages, they have families. Some of the people my age have kids they are trying to put through college."

Kline says the Union is only asking to have their current health package maintained.

"Our track record speaks for itself. Once we start, we don't give up and we go until we win."

Union members will vote on August 30th, to decide whether or not to hold a strike against Grand Sierra. Resort staff declined to comment regarding their negotiations with employees.


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