A two-vote margin in support of a new five-year labor contract proved to be the difference as the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau move ahead with plans for the proposed $2.5 billion Las Vegas Global Business District.
The vote occurred during the board’s monthly meeting July 9 and secures a labor agreement with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1107. The contract lasts about halfway through the 10-year plan to develop the Global Business District. The district is intended to maintain Las Vegas’ position as the world’s top tradeshow destination for the past 19 years as determined by the Trade Show News Network.
“We’re number one because of the people who work the [tradeshow] floor,” said Steve Ross, who voted in favor of the measure.
Although many board members aired various concerns about contract terms, the agreement should ensure there will be no problems with the workforce and makes it easier to move forward with planning for the proposed Las Vegas Global Business District, which is intended to draw even greater participation from international visitors and others while generating more local revenue after being developed over the next 10 years.
“It is fair. It is reasonable. It is the right thing to do,” said Cam Walker. “Labor should not be an issue while going through a major undertaking.”
The contract has an estimated fiscal impact exceeding $2.75 million over the next five years, starting with an estimated $581,299 cost in salaries and benefits during 2014, according to LVCVA documents. Estimated costs peak at $611,513 during 2015 and gradually lessen to $465,315 during the final year in 2018. The SEIU Local 1107 represents some 316 workers, who ratified the contract on June 11 with 95 percent of members supporting it.
The salaries and benefits provided by the contract amount to nearly 19 percent of total revenues expected to be generated during 2014, according to LVCVA documents. And they give an average 2.6 percent increase per year over the life of the contract.
“This is a cost-impacting contract and a generous one,” said Kristin McMillan. She cited concerns regarding the cost over five years and suggested it was not in the “community’s best interest.”
Agreeing, board member Tom Jenkin suggested the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act might drive up labor costs beyond the estimated levels. The federal law requires job providers employing more than 50 to provide federally accepted levels of health insurance benefits to workers or pay a penalty.
In addition to increases in pay and securing benefits, the contract amends 17 of 21 articles in the prior labor agreement with SEIU Local 1107 and is in effect retroactively from July 1 through June 30, 2018.
The contract was approved with a 6-4 vote. Board members McMillan, Jenkin, Paul Chakmak and George Rapson voted against the measure while members Ross, Walker, Carolyn Goodman, Tom Collins, Lawrence Weekly and Andy Hafen voted in favor. Board member John Caparella abstained from voting.