Hot August Strike: Security Guards Strike Reno Hilton, Focal Point of Hot August Nights, Region's Largest Event; California & Nevada Teamsters Support Smaller Union, Targeting Deliveries, Buses and California Visitors.
The confrontation pits northern Nevada's largest hotel-casino against a union representing 67 security guards during the region's biggest tourist event. Union picket lines in protest of unfair labor practices went up at 3:00 p.m. Monday.
The security guards may resemble David, but they are brining the union army with them. The powerful Teamsters Union has pledged support both in Nevada and California. Union research shows that a substantial percentage of Hot August Nights participants are union members and their families.
"We stand with our brothers and sisters picketing the Reno Hilton," stated San Francisco Teamsters Local 70 secretary-treasurer Chuck Mack. "California Teamsters are 250,000 strong. Many of our members and thousands from other unions visit Reno during Hot August Nights. I am advising our members to avoid the Reno Hilton during their stays, and urge other union members to do the same," Mack stated.
"We also invite them to join members of all Nevada unions picketing the hotel," stated Reno Teamsters Local 533 secretary-treasurer Lou Martino. Mack will visit Reno in solidarity with the security guards later this week. His call to action will be distributed throughout California and Nevada through union networks and to all Golden State media via BusinessWire electronic wire service.
The Teamsters represent regional transit bus operators, disposal workers and UPS employees. Teamsters driving for local companies and national trucking firms deliver goods and services to almost every department at the 2,001-room hotel, including food and beverage. Some tour bus operators may also refuse to cross picket lines. Last week, Nevada Teamsters Local 533 began warning employers of problems anticipated by Hilton picket lines.
Monday, Martino contacted International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Ron Carey asking that the Washington headquarters notify all joint councils and local unions throughout the U.S. and Canada to respect the picket lines and support the Reno Hilton boycott.
Last November, Hilton workers voted to bargain as a group through the United Plant Guard Workers of America. "Hilton responded with a contract offering a 22% pay cut and allowing outsourcing of jobs to outside security firms," stated UPGWA International President Gene McConville.
"Our workers feel they now have nothing left to lose. This morning, we reiterated our final offer, asking only a one-year wage freeze in exchange for a signed contract. Hilton wouldn't budge from the 22% pay cut and subcontracting out our jobs anytime they want," McConville said.
"This smugness results directly from Hilton's Tailhook Bill passed by the 1995 Nevada Legislature. It basically made casino security lapses lawsuit-proof," McConville said. "Hilton has been downsizing security staff for quite some time. Sending jobs out to rent-a-cop firms presents very real dangers to guests, guards and other workers," McConville stated.
CONTACT: Deciding Solutions
Andrew Barbano, 702/786-1455
Eugene P. McConville or Tom Stoneburner,
702/827-5010 or 800/22-UPGWA