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Culinary Union Local 226

UPDATE (JUNE 29): The Culinary Union Local 226 on Monday filed a lawsuit on behalf of employees against hotel casinos that they say have not taken sufficient precautions to keep employees safe.

The legal complaint claims that the defendants -- The Signature at MGM Grand, Sadelle's Cafe at Bellagio and Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah's -- have failed to shut down food-and-beverage venues and immediately inform employees after learning of employees' positive tests, have provided false information about how the virus spreads, and have adopted unreasonable rules for addressing spread. 

The lawsuit also says that defendants have "stubbornly refused" to require their guests to wear face coverings, despite evidence that the virus spreads via airborne droplets. The union is suing the companies for injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act regarding hazardous working conditions. 

“The Culinary Union will continue to collect worker statements and evidence regarding unsafe working conditions throughout the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas, and we will support the courageous workers who have come forward to share their experiences," said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union.

The lawsuit has been filed less than one week after a Caesars employee died after testing positive for the virus. 

Since March 1, 2020, 19 Culinary Union members or their dependents have died from COVID-19.  

SEVERAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE LAWSUIT

  • Workers have fear and anxiety heightened by The Signature at MGM’s failure to provide employees with prompt information about co-workers who test positive, and by the companies’ failure to follow reasonable contact-tracing and quarantine procedures.
  • Even though Harrah’s was aware that the food runner had tested positive for COVID-19, Harrah’s did not immediately announce this fact to all Guy Fieri workers so that they could take precautions. When Guy Fieri workers reported their concern about having worked with a COVID-19-positive co-worker, a security manager tried to pressure them to continue working, saying that they “looked alright to work” to him.
  • A food runner at Sadelle’s Cafe informed Bellagio that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Even after two positive COVID-19 cases, the company did not immediately close down Sadelle’s Cafe or work areas, where the employees who had tested positive had worked less than seven days earlier. The company also did not attempt to contact trace, nor did it advise an employee to self-quarantine after the employee had been in close contact with an employee who tested positive.

READ THE FULL LAWSUIT

RESPONSE FROM MGM RESORTS

Nothing is more important to us than the safety of everyone inside of our properties. We have spent months working with health experts to create a comprehensive health and safety plan. We have offered free testing to all employees before they report to work and require it if they exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive and we have made available tests in other circumstances that do not dictate that a test is required. We have worked to train our mangers in our incident response protocols and we work very closely with the health department officials in their efforts to contact trace. The nation is in the midst of a public health crisis and we are relying on all of our employees to follow CDC guidance both at work and at home.


ORIGINAL STORY (JUNE 27): LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Culinary Union Local 226 will file a lawsuit Monday on behalf of Strip employees to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19, the union announced Saturday morning.

In a release, the union said it would hold a press conference at 11 a.m. June 29 virtually.

"The Culinary Union is suing these companies for injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act based on the hazardous working conditions that workers face," the statement said. "The lawsuit alleges casino hotels have not protected workers, their families, and their community from the spread of COVID-19, and that the current rules and procedures in place for responding to workers contracting COVID-19 have been wholly and dangerously inadequate."

According to union representatives, the lawsuit outlines Las Vegas Strip properties' "failure to properly warn workers, disinfect, and quarantine when a worker or their co-worker tests positive for COVID-19."

In May, the union called upon the Nevada Gaming Control Board to adopt its public health guidelines and be fully transparent with the public when it comes to the pandemic. According to the release, the union is tracking what casinos do in response to COVID-19.

CULINARY DEMANDS

  • "Requiring daily cleaning of guest rooms
  • Mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work and regular testing thereafter 
  • Providing adequate COVID-19 PPE for employees
  • Enforcing social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures
  • Requiring guests to wear face masks in all public areas - The Culinary Union has been calling for all customers to wear masks in public spaces since early May. A mandatory mask policy is a good step towards protecting workers and the hospitality industry in Nevada, but much more has to be done.
  • Posting a COVID-19 safety plan on public-facing website - After months of advocating for increased transparency, the Culinary Union is pleased that most major gaming companies have posted their COVID-19 safety plans on their public-facing websites."

Culinary Union Local 226 represents some 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno.

Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline, union members named in the complaint and the daughter of a Culinary Union member who has passed away from COVID-19 will all be in attendance for the virtual press conference.

On Friday, Irma Fernandez spoke to FOX5 about her father's death. He was employed by Caesars Entertainment.

FOX5 will stream the press conference live on Facebook.

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(10) comments

vegasdawn

Hey teachers - time to withdraw from the union!! The time is very limited.

Nevermore

Kiss Las Vegas goodbye. Thanks Dems, enjoy your socialistic state.

seanwally

Employees need protections win place and that is for casinos to make them stay home and shut down until this thing passes otherwise the lawsuits will grow.

sisolakisascumbag

Unions are mafias always shaking down companies until they go broke. If those workers dont like the conditions they should quit and go back to Mexico. No one is making them work there. Quit if you dont like it.

vegasdawn

The Casinos would be so wise to dumb the Culinary and hire people who are qualified and appreciate having a great job and all the benefits.

MicheleR58

The Culinary Union are nothing but Government Sheep. It's becoming highly obvious. What a bunch of cowards.

NCIS

Unions are garbage.

Nothing but Democrat liberals.

You are all in this position because you voted for a loser Democrat governor Steve.

just sayin'

Sure, lets get a lawyer and sue the deep pockets entity. Why are they not going after the supermarkets and big box stores? These entities are trying to implement the safety protocols issued by the health originations and the governor. The hotels aren't medical facilities, so how do they prove who has the virus or not? We can only get the virus from the hotels, just ask the union. Has anyone been wearing a mask from the onset of the outbreak? Has anyone stayed in their home, the entire time? And now that they are back to work, they just got the virus? BS lawyers will try to go after this. No one should be able to sue from getting this virus. Has anyone ever sued because they got the flu? This can't be traced to a location, other then China.

Mediumjeep

Go on strike and shut the hotels down & get nothing! For few weeks !

qwerty123

The Culinary Union has brought this town to its knees before, they wouldn't hesitate to do it again if they felt their livelihood depended on it.

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