Culinary Union Filed a Lawsuit Against Major Las Vegas Casino Industry Giants

The Culinary Union filed a lawsuit against The Signature at the MGM Grand, Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s and Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio. According to the allegations, the operators did not take steps to protect their employees, employees’ families and the community from the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

Lawsuit Against Major Casino Industry Giants was Filed by ‘The Culinary Union’ on June 29

The Culinary Union has announced that it filed a lawsuit against some of the major casino industry giants on the Las Vegas Strip. According to the union, the industry will need to introduce further methods to protect employees. By doing so, the industry will also reduce the spread of COVID-19, the union has argued. The Culinary Union consists of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 represents some 60,000 workers in Reno and Las Vegas. In their statement, the union noted that since March, some 19 Culinary Union members or their relatives have died from the respiratory infection caused by COVID-19.

The union’s lawsuit seeks injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act. This act refers to hazardous working conditions. The lawsuit, filed by the union, is against:

  • The Signature at the MGM Grand
  • Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s
  • Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio

According to the lawsuit, these operators allegedly have not protected their employees, employees’ families and community from the COVID-19 outbreak. In the its announcement, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, said that the current lawsuit: “…is the just the beginning of the Culinary Union’s legal efforts to make sure workers are fully protected.” Argüello-Kline added that the union will continue to collect evidence and statements by employees regarding the hazardous working conditions. She did not miss to say that the union will continuously support workers and would like for them to share their recent work experience.

The Culinary Union Demands Changes Towards Safe Working Conditions for State Workforce

The union further revealed a list of demands for changes in certain areas in order to reduce the COVID-19 spread in the Silver State. The union demanded that daily cleaning of guest rooms is conducted of the guest rooms. Social distancing as well as functional personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed for all employees. The union also noted that all employees need to be tested for COVID-19 mandatory before and after their work shift.

The union made two more points where it noted that all guests must wear masks in all public areas and also that each operator had to post a COVID-19 safe operations plan on their public website. Focusing on the last two points, it’s important to mention that earlier in June, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has announced that all guests at casinos must wear masks. Consequently, last week, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that all visitors or guests in the Silver State must mandatory wear masks when in public places. Turning our eyes to the plans by the casino industry operators, many have already prepared official COVID-19 plans and shared them on their web-pages.

The Allegations by the Culinary Union

The union released further details about the allegations towards The Signature at MGM Grand, Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s and Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio. The allegations citing the name of The Signature at MGM Grand deemed the company’s procedures towards addressing a positive COVID-19 case unsafe.

The Signature allegedly did not inform its employees about a positive case of COVID-19. A bellman under the name of Sixto Zermeno was confirmed positive for COVID-19 back on June 11. Allegedly, the bellman tried reaching his employers at The Signature to warn them for two days. Later on, even though The Signature was aware of a positive COVID-19 case, it allegedly did not stop operations nor conducted disinfection for the booth where the bellman worked.

Further to the union’s announcement, it shared details on Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio allegations. The union pointed out that because guests did not have to wear masks mandatorily on Bellagio’s premises, this resulted in the cafe’s employees being regularly in danger. Furthermore, even after two positive cases of COVID-19 were observed, the company allegedly did not shut down Sadelle’s Cafe right away.

According to the union’s allegations, Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s did not notify its employees immediately after an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. Allegedly when workers at Guy Fieri addressed their concerns towards their supervisors, they were pressured to keep working, deeming that the employee with COVID-19 “looked alright“.

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