Union vote influenced by Harrah’s Entertainment news story?

Jul 21, 2009 5:01 PM
by Phil Hevener |

Harrah’s Entertainment executives may want to re-think the timing of stories, such as the one outlining their plans for developing a retail entertainment district linking some of the company’s Las Vegas Strip properties.

Nothing wrong with the facts as they were outlined, but the timing for such a piece could have been better, as it came two days before Teamsters Union members were scheduled to vote on a list of concessions requested by the company.

The larger Culinary Union members had already approved similar concessions such as a freeze or rescheduling of salary increases.

But teamsters working at the Las Vegas hotels and casinos soundly rejected by a 204 to 148 vote the proposals accepted by the bigger Culinary local. The leadership of the Teamsters local had been urging members to approve the concessions. It should not surprise anyone that Teamsters showed up to vote grumbling about the proposed development and the big, big money it suggested the company is prepared to spend on a new Las Vegas attraction at a time when wage earners were being asked to settle for less.

It is not clear how the action by Teamsters may affect what happens with the other unions, or how the Harrah’s and Teamsters work agreement may be affected.

Yet this is scarcely the biggest item on Harrah’s platter of concerns. Dealers at two of the company’s Atlantic City hotels were voting this past weekend on whether or not to approve a strike and the company continues to struggle with the consequences of a daunting debt load created by taking the company private.

But getting back to the Strip.

Perhaps, in releasing the story, Harrah’s may have been doing nothing more than trying to drum up interest in the concept, run a fancy idea up the flag pole and wait to see who salutes. Perhaps it wanted to put its stamp on various elements of the plan before anyone else jumps on the concept.

Maybe their phones are ringing off the hooks with calls from big thinkers who want to get in on the planning.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Phil Hevener