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Cosmopolitan casino-resort in Las Vegas agrees to union contract

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    This Dec. 7, 2010 file photo shows the Cosmopolitan restort and casino in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS >> Five years after workers first sought union representation and two years after angry labor protests led to arrests, the Culinary Union has brokered a deal with The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to represent the casino-resort’s more than 2,000 workers.

Nevada’s Culinary Workers Union Local 226 announced Tuesday that it and Bartenders Union Local 165 had secured a four-year contract with The Cosmopolitan’s new owner, private equity firm Blackstone.

Newly unionized workers include the property’s housekeepers, bartenders, restaurant and lounge employees and bellhops.

The Cosmopolitan, a 2,959-room swanky high-rise that opened in December 2010, had been one of only a few major Las Vegas casino properties that didn’t have a collective bargaining agreement with the union. A majority of workers first signed cards requesting union representation shortly after The Cosmopolitan opened. The group staged labor protests in 2013 with thousands of members picketing outside The Cosmopolitan against its then-owners Deutsche Bank, stopping traffic and in some cases booing tourists who crossed the picket line, leading to arrests.

The union and a division of Blackstone, which bought the property from Deutsche Bank in late 2014 for $1.73 billion, signaled a fresh start to negotiations in February when the two hosted a joint news conference and toasted each other with champagne.

Union spokeswoman Bethany Kahn said employees voted to ratify the contract Monday, and the terms of the deal include family health insurance through the Culinary Health Fund with no monthly premiums and free prescriptions for workers and their families, pension contributions, guaranteed 40-hour standard work weeks for full-time workers and $1 to $3 more per hour for wages.

The Cosmopolitan had been one of only several major Las Vegas resorts or casinos that hadn’t unionized, including The Venetian and The Palazzo, Palms Casino Resort, Trump International Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and off-Strip properties owned by Station Casinos.

The union is no longer actively attempting to organize The Venetian and The Palazzo, owned by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, and the Hard Rock casino-hotel, Kahn said.

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