Culinary Union Files Lawsuit Against Strip Casino Companies

Alleges Not Enough Is Being Done To Protect Workers From COVID-19

Mitch Kelly
June 30, 2020 - 5:23 am
A member enters the building of Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, February 13, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alex Wong/Getty Images


LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - The Culinary Union has filed a lawsuit against The Signature at the MGM Grand, Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio, and Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s on behalf of Culinary Union members who work in these casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, saying not enough is being done to protect workers and their families from the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. 

The Culinary claims that since March 1, 2020, 19 Culinary Union members and/or their dependents have died from COVID-19.

“This lawsuit against The Signature at MGM Grand (MGM Resorts International), Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio (MGM Resorts International), and Guy Fieri at Harrah’s (Caesars Entertainment Corporation) is the just the beginning of the Culinary Union’s legal efforts to make sure workers are fully protected,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “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” 

Accordning to the Clulinary, since Las Vegas’s gaming industry reopened on June 4th, The Signature at the MGM Grand, Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio, and Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s have:

*Adopted unreasonable rules and procedures for addressing the spread of COVID-19.

*Have not immediately shut down work areas upon learning of positive COVID-19 cases. 

*Have failed to conduct adequate contact tracing to identify those who have worked with a co-worker who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

*Have failed to immediately inform their employees of positive tests among their co-workers, leaving workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of pre-existing conditions (or who live with family members who are particularly vulnerable) guessing as to what precautions they must take. 

*Have provided workers with flatly false information about how COVID-19 spreads and what its symptoms are, in an effort to keep workers on the job and revenues flowing.  

The Culinary Union is demanding safety for all hospitality and gaming workers in Nevada and is tracking what casino employers are doing to prevent COVID-19 in the following areas on the website

That includes, 

*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.