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Las Vegas Union Convention Workers on Strike

Las Vegas Teamsters Local 631, which helps set up and dismantle trade shows and conventions in Las Vegas, has gone on strike, according to a number of published reports.

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PHOENIX — Las Vegas Teamsters Local 631, which helps set up and dismantle trade shows and conventions in Las Vegas, has gone on strike, according to a number of published reports.

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Teamsters Local 631 on Sept. 4 rejected a contract offer from two of the city’s largest convention service companies — GES Exposition Services and Freeman Decorating Co. According to one report, the union is looking for a larger pay raise than was offered by the contractors, and is also upset by claims that GES and Freeman want to raise their insurance qualifications from a minimum of 86 hours worked per month to 173 monthly hours. The proposed three-year deal contained wage and benefit increases totaling $2.50 per hour over the life of the contract, with a salary and benefits capped at $36.78 per hour in the deal’s third year.

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The Teamsters’ agreement with GES and Freeman’s decorating division expired May 31 but initially was extended for 30 days. Until late last week, most union laborers continued to work under the terms of their former agreement while their leaders negotiated with the contractors.

About half of the union’s 6,000 local members work primarily in Las Vegas’ thriving convention industry, which Tradeshow Week magazine has ranked as the nation’s top convention destination for 10 consecutive years. Union members voted 1,135 to 18 to turn down last Thursday’s offer from GES Exposition Services and The Freeman Co.

Reports have not indicated how long the strike may last, but companies scheduled to exhibit in Las Vegas are already seeking alternatives. One report said exhibit contractors have been flooded with calls asking how the strike will impact their upcoming Las Vegas trade shows.

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