Two Las Vegas Unions Ink Deal with MGM, Caesars to Keep Health Benefits Into 2021

  • Health benefits for idle workers will be guaranteed until March 1, 2021
  • About 36,000 workers from MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas are affected
  • Quarantining workers get paid leave and symptomatic workers cannot be disciplined
  • Unions sued the two casino companies in June to push for better worker health protections
Las Vegas at night
MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have signed agreements with two workers unions in Las Vegas to extend health benefits into 2021. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A reprieve

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 have come to an agreement with Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, guaranteeing tens of thousands of Las Vegas casino employees family health benefits through February 2021.

Announced on August 31, the pacts with the casino companies will affect approximately 36,000 union workers across 22 properties on the Las Vegas Strip. 

workers can still get health benefits until March 1, 2021 even if they remain on furlough

Culinary Union executive Geoconda Argüello-Kline labeled these agreements as “historic.” As a result of the agreements, workers can still get health benefits until March 1, 2021 even if they remain on furlough, as well as have a guarantee that they will keep their seniority benefits upon returning to work. 

Among the other protections, any employee that is told to quarantine by local health officials will get ten days of paid leave. No disciplinary action can be taken against any worker that has COVID-19 symptoms and has to isolate.

An important step

Speaking about the new agreements, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said that they are “an important step in continuing to ensure our team members and their families are protected during these unpredictable times.”

unprecedented challenges”

MGM Resorts president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle echoed these remarks, emphasizing that the industry and communities are “facing unprecedented challenges.”

The news of this extension of health benefits came on the same day that MGM Resorts International officially laid off approximately 18,000 workers across its US properties.

Health benefits for laid off workers will remain in place until September 30. Those who lost their jobs will be put on a recall list; anyone who is rehired by the end of 2021 will retain seniority. 

Continued persistence

Negotiations took place over the past few months to come up with a plan to protect jobs and keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevada casinos closed in the middle of March because of the virus; they were allowed to reopen on June 4. Some of the casinos in the state remain closed. 

The unions sued Caesars and MGM Resorts subsidiaries in June in an effort to get stronger safety measures to help protect worker health. The lawsuit claims were dismissed in August. 

According to the unions, the agreements signed on Monday affect 24,000 workers at MGM Resorts and 12,000 employees at Caesars. Officials are now working to nail down similar benefits for 24,000 workers at other casinos and hotels in Las Vegas. 

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