I have been contacted regularly by numerous current and former Wynn dealers with questions about the case against the Wynn. Many have expressed support for my efforts and also signed representation agreements with my office, for which I am grateful. From time to time I have expressed the following to some of the dealers I have spoken with, and I want to take the opportunity to tell the same to all of the Wynn dealers who care to hear my opinion:
The two most important things you can do to stop Wynn, and secure your tips and fair treatment by the Wynn is to (1) PAY YOUR UNION DUES and (2) GET ACTIVE AND INVOLVED IN YOUR UNION LOCAL. As of this writing, March of 2012, we have won our case against the Wynn, but that victory could still be overturned on appeal. And what is won from the Court can also be taken away by the Court, or by changes to the law made by the Legislature. You, as an individual, cannot battle successfully with the Wynn, but collectively, organized into a union, you have the power not only to successfully battle with Wynn but to make him agree to YOUR TERMS. What the dealers secure through their united efforts, when organized into a strong union, cannot be taken away by a judge sitting in a far off courtroom or some change in the law.
I understand that only a minority of Wynn dealers are on dues check off and paying their dues regularly. Wynn is well aware of that fact. With only a minority of the dealers showing support for their union by having a dues check off, Wynn figures the dealers are divided, their union is weak, and he can do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, he might be right in assuming that. So it is critically important every dealer have a dues check off and send a message to Wynn that they stand united, in support of their union, and are showing Wynn that they are making the financial commitment to fight him if necessary.
In addition to paying your dues, it is critically important you get involved with your union. It is YOUR UNION, not some stranger or third party, as Wynn would sure like you to believe. All too often I hear workers complain how “the union” is not doing a good job, is not representing them well, has sold them out to management, and so forth. I have heard such complaints from some dealers about the TWU. And sometimes those complaints do have a legitimate basis. But fundamentally the union IS THE MEMBERSHIP and can only be as effective, can only do as good a job, as the union members do for themselves and each other. If a worker is unhappy with what their union has done, or not done, the solution is not to complain about or badmouth the union. Dealers who do so might as well blame themselves for Wynn’s greed and the taking of their tips. The solution is to get active in the union, be involved, not only pay your dues but volunteer time for union activities and committees, grievance processing and investigation, and similar things. If you are dissatisfied with the direction of the union or the decisions being made in the past by the union then you need to work with your union brothers and sisters to change that direction and those decisions in the future. Ultimately the union is a democratic organization that must respond to the wishes of the members. But if most of the workers are uninvolved, apathetic, not paying their union dues, the union will very likely be ineffective, unable to lend much assistance, and not responsive to the needs of most of the workers. And that, of course, is precisely what Wynn wants.
Those dealers who may feel that even united into a union they have no ability to fight Wynn successfully are ignoring over 100 years of labor history, and much more recent history here in Las Vegas. Unions have always had to struggle for years, decades, generations, to secure decent working conditions for workers and respect from employers. But they have done so successfully, despite setbacks along the way. Right here, in Las Vegas, the Culinary Union has secured wages and benefits for its members that are far better than those enjoyed by similar workers anywhere in the United States, and far better than any Las Vegas casino dealers enjoy. That did not occur overnight but took many years of aggressive and united work by the members, including some strikes along the way, and was very difficult. But it was done. The Wynn dealers can do at least as well for themselves, but it will take time, and it will not be easy. But that success will only come from the dealers themselves uniting together and fighting for their rights.