Culinary Union applauds the Nevada Legislature for standing with hospitality workers and for the passage of Senate Bill 386 Right to Return



Monday, May 31st, 2021


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088 

Culinary Union applauds the Nevada Legislature for standing with hospitality workers and for the passage of Senate Bill 386 Right to Return

Las Vegas, NV – The Culinary Union applauds Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Speaker Jason Frierson, and the Nevada Legislature on the passage of Senate Bill 386 “Right to Return” which will protect over 350,000 hospitality workers in Clark County and Washoe. SB386 is headed to Governor Steve Sisolak’s desk to be signed into law.

The Culinary Union was proud to work alongside the Save Our Jobs Coalition to win the Right to Return for hundreds of thousands of workers in Nevada. Save Our Jobs Coalition members include: Bartenders Union Local 165, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, IATSE Local 720, National Nurses United, Nevada State AFL-CIO, Operating Engineers Local 501, SEIU 1107, Southern Nevada Central Labor Council, Teamsters Local 631, Teamsters Local 986, and United Auto Workers Local 3555.

“Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Culinary Union has been fighting everyday to protect hospitality workers and their families during this crisis,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “At the height of the pandemic 98% of Culinary Union members were laid off and currently only 50% are back to work. While a majority of unionized workers already have extended recall protections in their contracts, a majority of workers protected by this new SB386 law are not unionized. Behind every worker in this state there is a family and the Culinary Union is proud to have won the Right to Return for over 350,000 hospitality workers in Nevada. The Culinary Union is deeply disappointed that Republicans shamefully refused to stand with their constituents who are front-line essential hospitality workers.”

“Nevada’s workforce has been the hardest hit in the country during the pandemic, with more than 400,000 out of work at the peak of COVID-19. With Senate Bill 386, we give these Nevadans who lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, a chance to return to normalcy and the much-needed stability that they’ve lacked for more than a year,” said Rusty McAllister, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO. “It would be an injustice to kick long-term frontline employees, who have contributed to Nevada’s success for decades, to the curb once the pandemic is over. A Right to Return law would prevent employers from using a global pandemic to get rid of older workers in a shameful attempt to force them into early retirement. We are so grateful for Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro for championing this bill through the Legislature and to the dedicated organizers of the Culinary Union and within the Save Our Jobs coalition for their hard work!”

SB386 will give hundreds of thousands of union and non-union hospitality, airport, casino, travel, and stadium workers, who were laid off, through no fault of their own, the Right to Return to their jobs when business returns.  

From the moment the pandemic hit our union fought for us - from negotiating extra protections during COVID-19, extending recall rights, extending health care benefits, to literally providing food every week for my family and I for over a year,” said Brandon Geyer, Main Street Station, bartender for 30 years. “The union did so much to fight for us and protect us. It was a really hard year, but I didn’t feel alone. I’m so disappointed with the Republicans who didn’t stand with us and kept voting against Right to Return at every opportunity. 

SB386 Right to Return mandates and enforces the following requirements in Nevada:

*Workers laid off after March 12, 2020 for economic reasons due to the pandemic are eligible for Right to Return. Protections in SB386 begin July 1, 2021 and expire August 31, 2022.

*Hundreds of thousands of union and non-union hospitality, airport, casino, travel, and stadium workers (including third party operators at hotels and casinos such as retail shops, restaurants, bars, and parking facilities) are protected.

*Covered employers (that have 30 or more employees) must offer laid-off employees job openings for the same or similar positions as the employee worked previously.

*Workers who receive job offers have 24-hours to accept or decline and must be available to work within five days of receiving an offer. 

*Workers may turn down up to three job offers, with at least three weeks between each, if the job offer is for the same or a similar position and has similar hours to the worker’s previous job.

*Employer is cleared of obligation to recall a worker if the worker turns down three offers, or if the worker is not reachable by email, mail, phone call, or text message for each of the three offers. 

*Notices for recall must be available in English, Spanish, or any language that at least 10% or more of the employees speak. 

*Employers must provide an employee with a written explanation if they decline to recall a laid-off employee within 30 days of the decision.

*If an employee’s recall rights under SB386 conflict with rights under their collective bargaining agreement, the collective bargaining agreement prevails.

*Laid off employees may enforce their rights through a complaint to the Labor Commissioner or by suing in court.

“COVID-19 really shook me to my core. I couldn’t believe when I saw thousands of people, including myself, get fired during a global pandemic. I’m so happy that the Nevada Legislature passed SB386,” said Barbie Tivas, Green Valley Ranch, banquet food server for 14 years. “Having the Right to Return means that we get to stay in our homes, will have the opportunity to provide for our families again, and have hope. This Right to Return law rewrites the next chapter for us hospitality workers that would be otherwise very dark. Now, we will be able to survive and one day (hopefully really soon) thrive again.

The provisions in SB386 are a result of a 13-month intensive effort by the Culinary Union to ensure union and non-union workers are not left behind as the economy recovers: 

*Thousands of conversations with laid off / terminated workers during a pandemic. 

*Dozens of public comments made before the Clark County. Commission about the importance of Right to Return.

*Teams of hospitality workers dropped thousands of Right to Return doorhangers in Las Vegas neighborhoods encouraging Nevadans to call Republicans who voted against returning workers to their jobs: State Senators Dr. Joseph Hardy, Scott Hammond, Keith Pickard, Carrie Buck and Assemblymembers Heidi Kasama, Richard McArthur, Andy Matthews, and Melissa Hardy.

*Dozens of laid off hospitality workers flew up to Carson City to rally and lobby Nevada legislators directly.

*Workers picketed in front of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City for the first time in decades.

*Laid off or terminated hospitality workers gave media interviews sharing their stories to TV, radio, newspaper, and online publications.

*Nevadans moved the SB386 Opinion Poll up from the very bottom to the top #2 most popular with 3,352 opinions IN FAVOR of SB386 Right to Return.

*Culinary Union ran digital ads on social media and digital billboards in Las Vegas and Reno to raise awareness about SB386.

“I’m really happy that we’ve won the Right to Return to our jobs! I’ve been organizing with the union for 10 years from the moment I came to this country. Workers are an important part of Nevada’s history and our economic recovery as we see the light at the end of this pandemic, said Cristina Lopez, Texas Station, cooks helper for 10 years. “Thank you, Nevada Legislature for supporting us workers and for passing SB386. The pandemic has been really hard for all of us, thousands of hospitality workers lost our jobs, including me, but we fought to change things and stood together. It was hard, but this experience made us stronger. SI SE PUEDE!” 

The State of California as well as local governments in New Haven, Providence, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, San Diego, Port of San Diego, Glendale, and Long Beach have recently enacted policies to protect hospitality workers with the Right to Return.

“I’m very thankful to the union for fighting for the SB386. Having the Right to Return means everything to my family and I and our future. Passing SB386 was the right thing for the Nevada Legislature to do and I feel relieved that it’s on the way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law,” said Matthew Seevers, Fiesta Henderson, bartender for 16 years. “Nevada has been through a lot with 9/11, October 1, and the COVID-19 pandemic - it’s been tough, but winning the Right To Return gives me hope that Nevada recovers stronger, even after the most difficult of times. 


131 Culinary and Bartenders Union members and/or their immediate family members have died from COVID-19, with 1,283 hospitalized due to the virus since March 1, 2020.


Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America. 

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.   

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest Latinx/Black/AAPI/immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project.   

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership which is 55% women and 45% immigrants. The demographics of Culinary Union members are approximately: 54% Latinx, 18% white, 15% Asian, 12% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples. 

Culinary Union members work as: Guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for working families in Nevada for 86 years. / @Culinary226 


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