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Getting a Union Jobs in Vegas????

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've been doing some checking and I see that union culinary positions in Vegas seem to pay fairly well. My question is how easy is it to get a full time union job? Are most culinary workers in Vegas non-union employees working for years at a low paying job while they wait for a union position to open up?
post #2 of 5


I don't think it is hard, but it depends what type of job you are looking for. Some hotels are union - MGM Grand, Mirage, Treasure Island, Wynn, Paris and some are not - Venetian and I am sure others.
The restaurants within the hotels can be independent and you would be working for the Michael Mina Group (Nobhill) instead of MGM Grand, where the restaurant is located. Some are part of the hotel and therefore union like Wing Lei, the first Chinese restaurant in America to get a Michelin star (I can't wait to try it).
There are many new jobs available here - the Palazzo, a new addition to the Venetian is supposed to be opening in a matter of weeks and creating 5,000 new jobs. This of course will create openings in all of the other hotels as they lose people to the project. Then there is Encore opening next year and The City Center, all with several thousand more job openings in restaurants, cake shops, bakeries and catering.
To get a union job, some people take the approach of accepting a less-than-desirable job within the company, then moving to the one they want when it opens, since existing employees get first shot. However, some of the top restaurants will skirt the system a bit to get the best candidates for the job. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 5
I don't know the Union scene in Vegas, but I do know the foodworker's Union scene in the rest of N.America. Below is a list of characterisitcs that the vast majority of food service Unions embrace. The Union in the Hotel you are considering MAY endorse some or all of the items on the list. I urge you to read the list and then formulate your questions to the HR dept BEFORE considering the postion offered to you.

First Rule... Ask the HR dept for the Union handbook. If they refuse, or tell you you can only access it after employment commences, ask to study it in their office. If they still refuse, then beware.

Golden Rule. Seniority is trump. Remember this, seniority is the deciding factor in all decisions, from promotions to weekly scheduling. This may have serious implications on your life, as seniority decides if you get 8 hrs or 40 hrs per week, seniorty decides if you get laid off in the slow months. Merit does not factor into these decisions.

Diamond rule. Paycheques are garnisheed for Union dues. From day 1. Dues are usually based on flat rate, irregardless if you work 8 or 160 hrs/mth. You have no choice in this matter, you have no recourse to legal aid to change this rule. Your paycheque wil have a chunk taken out of it before you even get it....

Stinker rule. Many Unions insist on a probationary period before allowing the member access to Union representation or Union benifits. The probation period may last anywhere from 3 mths to 1 yr, depending on the Union. Remember that most non-mngmt jobs in the hospitality industry last under 12 mths. Remember too that paycheques are garnisheed from day 1. The legal community has coined a term for this rule, and it rhymes with "cleft"

"Cute" rule. Many Union shops insist that employees have an option of choosing whether to be represented by the Union. While this is theoreticaly true, the garnisheeing of paycheques still continues--irregardless of your choice. You just don't get to vote in any Union matters (after your probationary period, of course...) Ask a direct question to the HR dept about this, if the HR dept. says "No" to the garnisheeing of paycheques irregardless of your decision on joining a Union, ask for a written guarantee. Use your discretion when you don't get such a guarantee.

As I have stated in the beginning of my post, these are the characteristics of the vast majority of food service Unions. The Hotel you are considering may or may not endorse these characteristics.

Thus endeth the lecture, the "birds & the bees" of Union life has been explained to you.

Choose wisely....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 5
The "First Rule" mentioned by Foodpump may be just a bit different in Vegas. The hotels can have multiple unions for their employees, so the HR departments do not handle this. My neighbor was hired into a union kitchen position and the HR department required her to go to the Culinary Union headquarters before she was hired. They are very reluctant to answer any questions about the unions themselves. There can be separate unions (Hotel Workers Union, LV Dealers Union) depending on the position someone is hired into. I have not been here long, but already heard multiple complaints about how union representatives present their information. It can be difficult to get objective information on the subject.
The pros to a union - health care is amazing, vacation pay, pension and better overtime pay than state standards
The cons - seniority is everything, they can make it hard for managers to fire poorly performing workers, the rules can hurt your chances to learn new things - in a restaurant moving from working service at night to a daytime production position can be challenging.
post #5 of 5
Please remember that Unions do not provide health care, vacation pay etc., this is provided by/paid by the employer.

I don't about the States, but in Canada, by law, all Unions must provide thier employees with a yearly audited finacial statement--how much money is collected, how it is spent, where it goes. Since working in the Hospitality Industry starting back in the early '80's I have repeatedly asked for such information, I have never recieved it, even the Shop Stewards have never seen it.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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