June 19, 2024 3 min read


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NLRB Shakes Casino Industry with Historic Union Ruling

The implications of this landmark decision can immensely impact the gaming industry and beyond, helping guarantee adequate worker protections

In a historic ruling, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has mandated that NP Red Rock, the owner of the Red Rock Casino and two other Las Vegas casinos, recognize and negotiate with a union despite a previous election where workers voted against unionization. This unprecedented decision marks the first application of a policy allowing unions to organize workers due to employer misconduct even after previously lost elections.

The Cemex Standard Saw Its First Win

This ruling is the first instance where the NLRB has applied its 2023 Cemex Construction Materials decision. The Cemex ruling reestablished a policy abandoned over 50 years ago, requiring businesses that violate labor laws to bargain with unions without holding formal elections. This controversial decision has faced harsh criticism from business groups and Republicans.

According to the Cemex standard, when a union presents evidence of majority support in a workplace, such as signed authorization cards, the employer must either voluntarily recognize the union or file for an election. If the employer engages in severe unfair labor practices, they can be compelled to bargain without a vote or after a union election loss.

In the recent case concerning Red Rock, approximately 60% of the 1,300 workers in the bargaining unit had signed cards authorizing the union as their representative before the election. These numbers were sufficient to motivate the NLRB’s ruling, leading to the union securing its historic win despite the election loss.

Workers Can Enjoy Improved Protections

According to a recent Reuters report, the NLRB’s decision, issued on Monday, highlighted “egregious and pervasive unlawful conduct” by Red Rock that compromised the integrity of a 2019 election where employees voted 627-534 against joining the union. The Board cited illegal promises of benefits if workers rejected the union and threats to withhold these benefits if they instead supported the union.

A particularly bold move just two days before the election allegedly saw Red Rock distribute over 500 free steaks branded with “Vote No,” addressing worker complaints about the quality of food provided at a buffet. The NLRB condemned these actions, accusing the operator of intentionally undermining unionization efforts via underhanded practices.

(NP Red Rock’s) extensive coercive and unlawful misconduct stemmed from a carefully crafted corporate strategy intentionally designed at every step to interfere with employees’ free choice.

NLRB statement

Red Rock and the union, Unite Here, have not yet commented on the ruling. The Board’s supporters argue that the Cemex standard is necessary to counter widespread illegal union-busting tactics, while critics claim it deprives workers of free choice. The Cemex decision is currently under appeal in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and the outcome will likely have significant implications for future unionization efforts.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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