Mr. Las Vegas Boycott

Members of the Musicians Union of Las Vegas are striking rather than performing in “The Wayne Newton Holiday Show” at the Flamingo Las Vegas, which had its opening night November 24th.

Union leaders urged members not to perform, saying they had attempted to negotiate with Newton for close to a year. The primary sticking point of the negotiations is whether musicians should be paid for rehearsals scheduled before or after a performance.

Union president Frank Leone said Newton wants a six-hour unpaid time frame for rehearsals.

“It’s unheard of, especially in the music business,” Leone told Pollstar. “If you do it for one, you’ve got to do it for everybody else.”

Union secretary treasurer Thom Pastor added that the crooner would not agree to provisions that are standard on the strip.

“Wayne’s best and final offer was less than what is the tier-two level on the Las Vegas Strip,” Pastor told Pollstar.

In a statement, Newton accused the union of negotiating in bad faith and proposing an “eleventh-hour” contract with new demands. Despite the strike by about 11 musicians from the 20-piece orchestra, the show went on.

“If I have to play piano myself, and I am the only one up there, I will put on the show of my life and my audiences will not be disappointed,” the singer said, adding that he is certain he will find replacements for those who strike.

Newton currently has concerts scheduled at the Flamingo through December.

The Musicians Union of Las Vegas is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents about 700 musicians. This is its first strike since 1989, when it boycotted several Strip hotels for 7 months over the use of new technologies to replace live performances, according to Pastor.

Mitchell Peters