Contract negotiations begin at large Vegas casinos

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The two biggest unions on the Las Vegas Strip have begun contract negations with two companies that control most of the city's large casinos.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 are negotiating wages and health benefits with MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp.

The current contract, from 2007, expires in June.

MGM negotiations will be at the Excalibur casino, while Caesars talks will be at Bally's.

Both sides issued statements saying the union and casino companies have enjoyed a good partnership for many years.

The unions have held several pickets in recent months to protest stalled contract talks with Cosmopolitan Las Vegas owner Deutsche Bank.