(Bloomberg Law) -- More than 50,000 Las Vegas-based hospitality workers have voted to authorize a strike if negotiations with the city’s biggest resorts fail to yield a new contract.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, which represent about 53,000 culinary workers in Las Vegas, voted by a 95% margin Tuesday to allow union leadership to call a strike. The union’s members include room attendants, servers, bartenders, and kitchen workers.

Approximately 40,000 employees are working under expired contracts at 22 properties owned by MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp., and Wynn Resorts Ltd., after the workers axed a second contract extension earlier this month.

A strike could bring the 39 hotels, casinos, and resorts on the strip—including Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay, and Bellagio—to a standstill.

The unions advised the public to avoid the downtown area Tuesday as workers congregated at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus for the authorization vote.

The culinary and bartenders unions are pushing for a new five-year contract that would grant historic wage increases, reduced workload quotas, guarantees against workplace violence, and job security from increased automation.

“Today, Culinary and Bartenders Union members have sent the strongest message possible to the casino industry to settle a fair contract as soon as possible,” Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said in a statement following the strike vote. “We have negotiations scheduled next week with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts and it’s up the three largest employers in Las Vegas to step up and do the right thing.”

MGM said in an emailed statement Wednesday that negotiations with the unions would continue.

“MGM Resorts has a decades-long history of bargaining successfully with the Las Vegas Culinary & Bartenders Unions,” the company said. “We continue to have productive meetings with the union and believe both parties are committed to negotiating a contract that is good for everyone.”

Representatives for Caesars and Wynn didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Parker Purifoy in Washington at ppurifoy@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Laura D. Francis at lfrancis@bloomberglaw.com; Genevieve Douglas at gdouglas@bloomberglaw.com

(Updated with MGM statement in the eighth and ninth paragraphs.)

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