Las Vegas Trade Union Seeks Protections as AI Expected to Steal Most Jobs by 2035

  • Experts believe AI will totally eliminate certain jobs and change others
  • The Las Vegas Culinary Union will seek protections in contract talks
  • Many firms in Vegas already use AI, such as parking lot security robots
Man sat next to robot in queue for job interview
The growing influence of artificial intelligence is set to wreak havoc in Las Vegas, with up to 65% of jobs estimated to become automated by 2035. [Image:]

A concerning trend

The recent explosion in the popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to concern among workers from a multitude of sectors fearing for job security. Las Vegas security guards, bartenders, and other employees are a part of this group, and according to a new study they have good reason to be wary.

between 38% and 65% of employment in Southern Nevada could be automated

NPR published a piece about the matter on Monday, citing a Nevada Independent article that estimated between 38% and 65% of employment in Southern Nevada could be automated by 2035. Casino gambling hub Las Vegas is the largest city in Southern Nevada.

According to experts, AI will totally eliminate certain types of jobs and will change other roles completely. For companies, the dawn of AI means they can replace people with cheaper alternatives without any drop-off in productivity or customer experience.

Now, trade unions are seeking protection for that eventuality.

Negotiations approaching

The Culinary Union has about 60,000 members who work in the hospitality and service industry in Nevada. It plans to secure protections from AI in an upcoming contract negotiation. Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said that a strike may be required if demands are not met.

Unions in other industries across the US are also dealing with AI-related issues, most notably with the Writers Guild of America currently on strike. The screenwriters’ union is trying to establish legal and creative protections against the technology.

Pappageorge noted that the Culinary Union had “a huge fight about tech” in the group’s previous contract negotiation in 2018. Ultimately, companies agreed to give workers a six-month warning for any introduction of new technology in the workplace and to provide training to show people how to use it.

Changes already in motion

Many casinos, bars, and restaurants in Nevada are already using AI for certain roles. Self-check-in kiosks are now the norm at many major properties, while certain businesses use robots to make drinks and serve food. The M Resort in Henderson began using a parking lot security robot earlier in 2023. It automatically moves around the area looking for any signs of trouble with its 50 sensors and cameras.

There’s some things you can’t replace”

While this shows that robots and AI can carry out many types of roles, some hospitality workers believe they cannot replace jobs that have a personal service aspect to them. An MGM Grand cocktail waitress explained to NPR that many regular guests come for personal interaction. “There’s some things you can’t replace,” she claimed.

Nevada is heavily reliant on hospitality and tourism for jobs. Experts are now considering ways to potentially diversify and transition the state towards other types of employment opportunities due to the growth of AI.

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