Las Vegas casinos prepare to hemorrhage $10 million a day as their workers, fearing their jobs will be replaced by robots, get ready to go on strike
- Hospitality and entertainment workers are preparing to go on strike in wake of 50,000 union contracts that expire on Friday, June 1.
- The chief concern among Las Vegas workers is that their jobs will be replaced by robots.
- If the strike takes place, it could cost casinos an estimated $10 million a day in losses.
In Las Vegas, 50,000 bartenders, cocktail waitresses, cooks, bellmen, porters, and other hospitality professionals are preparing to go on strike in the wake of union contracts that expire Friday, June 1.
Their chief fear? That their jobs will soon be replaced by technological innovation - namely, robots.
"I voted yes to go on strike to ensure my job isn't outsourced to a robot," Chad Neanover, a cook at the Caesar Entertainment-owned Margaritaville, said in a statement. "We know technology is coming, but workers shouldn't be pushed out or left behind. Casino companies should ensure that technology is harnessed to improve the quality and safety in the workplace, not as a way to completely eliminate our jobs."
Other union members expressed similar concerns.
In a statement, the Culinary Union's secretary treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said that a strike was a final but necessary measure if contracts weren't settled by their June 1st expiration date."We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs. Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch," Argüello-Kline said.
The strike, which is estimated to cost Las Vegas casinos like MGM grand and Caesar's Palace around $10 million a day in losses, would be among the biggest in the city's history.
In Las Vegas, where hospitality jobs make up the majority of the workforce, it's thought that robots could have a punishing effect on the city's labor economy. A May 2017 study estimates that Las Vegas is among the American cities that could be most affected by robotic innovation in the future.
By 2035, it's thought that as many as 36,000 of the city's available retail positions could be taken over by automated technology.
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