Could casino surveillance staff really help pull off an Ocean’s 11 heist?

  • Claim casino technicians have opportunity to pull off ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-style heist
  • Concerns remain over industrial espionage following union ruling

The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been challenged in court by two Las Vegas casinos over the rights of casino surveillance technicians to join unions, amid claims they could help pull off an ‘Ocean’s 11-style’ heist.

Casino surveillance unionization Ocean's 11 heist claim
A legal challenge on casino surveillance workers’ ability to unionize has included a claim that their special security access could mean they are able to pull off an Ocean’s 11-style heist

While casinos and their agents argue that a conflict of interests exists and that surveillance staff have a security function, the NLRB has already passed legislation to allow these workers the right to union membership.

Now an appeals court must decide whether to overturn the NLRB’s decision.

Casino technicians given union status

Back in 2016, the NLRB ruled that casino technicians have the right to unionize. As workers who operate in the electronics sector, they fall under the same category that an electrician or other tradesperson would; in terms of their casino employment, they are deemed to have the same right to representation as any other union member.

Concerns over conflicts of interest

The Bellagio and the Mirage, which are two of the largest Las Vegas casinos, have tackled the union ruling in the US Court of Appeals. They state that casino technicians actually operate in the security sector, and are subject to confidential information, which could put their interests in conflict should they be required to act for their union against their employer. In an extreme situation, a contractor responsible for the camera system could even pull off an elaborate heist, much like the movie Ocean’s Eleven, thanks to their unique position in the casino.

Case considered by appeals panel

Attorneys for the NLRB argue that the role of a camera technician does not include rule enforcement or other forms of security action, and therefore the contractors who install surveillance systems should be eligible for the same workers’ rights – including the right to unionize. A panel for the US Appeals Court will now consider the case and record a verdict, with a decision expected in the coming days.

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