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The hospitality industry is breathing a sigh of relief on Friday as MGM Resorts International, the largest employer on the Las Vegas Strip, and Caesars Entertainment reached a tentative deal with Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, averting a strike that would have had devastating implications for the city—and just a week before Formula One Las Vegas is set to roll into town.

35,000 hospitality union employees—housekeepers, bartenders, servers and others—had threatened to walk out on Friday if negotiations failed. The Las Vegas strike would have been the largest in U.S. history, targeting the Las Vegas hotels operated by MGM Resorts, Caesars International and Wynn Resorts, and affecting most of the major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, including the Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, Park MGM, Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, The Linq, the Wynn and the Encore resort.

The 35,000 casino employees had been working under an expired contract since mid-September. In October, union employees began picketing in front of several casinos, held a rally on the Strip, and staged a sit-down protest in front of the Paris and Bellagio casinos in which several union members were arrested.
“After seven months of negotiations, we are proud to say that this is the best contract and economic package we have ever won in our 88-year-history,” Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer and chief negotiator for Culinary Workers Union Local 226, told the Associated Press. “Workers have secured significant raises every year for the next five years, preserved our great union health insurance, union pension and comprehensive union benefits.”