Believe it or not, unions play a role in business operations. Most firms would wish that unions are abolished (although some actually embrace the syndicates), but that is only wishful thinking. The casino industry has come under fire in the last few years for the overall treatment industry employees receive, and their response to COVID-19 has put even more pressure on the gambling operators.

Now, the biggest casino employee union in the United States is planning on filing a lawsuit against Las Vegas casinos for not doing a great job at offering safety protections for their workers.

Las Vegas casinos started reopening on the 4th of June and, since then, there has been a mixed response by the properties on how they supervise employee activity. There has also been a spike in COVID-19 cases, and the Culinary Union feels that the providers should have been more proactive in protecting their employees as soon as the keys were turned on the doors.

It wants to ask a judge for relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act, a federal law that was formed to force companies to provide workers with a safe and secure working environment throughout.

The union held an online press conference on June 29, as per a press release issued by Director of Communication and Digital Strategy Bethany Khan this last Saturday. Meanwhile, she 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.”

More than 60,000 casino employees across Reno and Las Vegas are represented by the Bartenders Union Local 165 and the Culinary Union Local 226. The two had already been pushing for better protection as casinos resumed, including the handing of face masks and the implementation of compulsory testing.

However, not all of the gaming properties were ready to unveil the measures. As per the union, just 11 operators offer testing for their workers, whereas over 55% do not.

According to Local 226, “Culinary Union’s lawsuit focuses on the companies’ failure to properly warn workers, disinfect, and quarantine when a worker or their co-worker tests positive for COVID-19. 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…”

Moreover, as per the union, just two hotels are cleaning guest rooms on a day to day basis, a condition ordered by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak as the economy began to come back online. Most gambling venues have their safety procedures in place, however, three – Circus Circus Las Vegas, Binion’s and Four Queens, still do not, according to the site maintained by Local 226.

Sisolak recently made face masks mandatory in Nevada as of last Friday. This came in response to the spike in coronavirus cases, and Sisolak said when announcing the change last Wednesday, “I’m offering us all another opportunity to limit our risk for exposure and infection and to keep our businesses open and our economy moving. For Nevada to stay safe and stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily life.”


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