Employees take action
Culinary and bar workers have sued a number of notable Las Vegas hotel-casinos, alleging that they are not providing safe working conditions in the midst of the current pandemic. The Culinary Union’s Bartenders Union (Local 165) and Culinary Workers Union (Local 226) filed the suit in the US District Court for the District of Nevada on June 29.
hotel-casinos have not provided enough protection for employees, their families, and the community
The main properties in question are Guy Fieri’s Las Vegas Kitchen and Bar, Sadelle’s Cafe at the Bellagio, and The Signature at the MGM Grand. The filing alleges that the said hotel-casinos have not provided enough protection for employees, their families, and the community to contain the potential spread of COVID-19. It also claims that the response to some of their employees contracting the virus has been “wholly and dangerously inadequate.”
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief through the Labor-Management Relations Act because of hazardous working conditions.
Calls for stricter protective measures
There are about 60,000 workers represented by the two unions in Reno and Las Vegas. The Culinary Union issued a video statement on Monday regarding the lawsuit:
As of June 29, 19 members of the two unions and/or their dependents died after contracting the virus since the beginning of March. The lawsuit calls for more extensive and regular testing for employees, enforcement of social distancing, and the provision of proper protective equipment. The secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, said:
The mask is not enough.”
More statements from workers will be gathered and evidence compiled about unsafe working conditions in Las Vegas.
MGM properties among venues named
The lawsuit outlines very specific details regarding alleged breaches of health and safety protocols by the named restaurants. One allegation in the lawsuit is that the staff was not properly warned after a co-worker contracted the virus. Potentially exposed areas were not subsequently disinfected, and people who worked in close proximity to these people were not quarantined.
The Signature is said to be operating an unsafe venue for its employees, with a number of its bellmen and valets having recently contracted the virus. It is also alleged that Sadelle’s Cafe in the Bellagio is not sufficiently protecting employees. Both hotel-casinos are under the operation of MGM Resorts International. The company issued a statement on Monday responding to the allegations, maintaining:
Nothing is more important to us than the safety of everyone inside of our properties.”
It outlined how the health and safety standards that are in place were developed over many months of working alongside health experts. It also detailed how free testing is available to employees in most circumstances and that managers have been trained in incident response protocols.
Caesars responds to allegations
Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar at the LINQ Promenade is also being accused of not properly protecting its workers. The property is co-managed by Harrah’s.
Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Harrah’s, declined to comment on the lawsuit. However, it issued a statement on Monday that it acted in line with health and safety protocols after a restaurant worker tested positive for the virus.