Victory: Culinary Union to begin expedited arbitration with MGM Resorts to protect workers, Caesars lawsuit still on-going



Monday, July 20, 2020 


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088 

Victory: Culinary Union to begin expedited arbitration with MGM Resorts to protect workers, Caesars lawsuit still on-going

Las Vegas, NV – In a victory today (Monday, July 20, 2020), the Culinary Union has moved to dismiss the lawsuits against MGM Resorts Internationals’ The Signature at the MGM Grand and Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio as the expedited arbitration is scheduled to begin this week. 

“An expedited arbitration with MGM Resorts is scheduled this week. This arbitration is a first step and the Culinary Union will continue to negotiate aggressively and take any other steps necessary to ensure workers and their families are protected from the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “The lawsuit against Caesars Entertainments’ Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s remains on-going. Workers who make this city run deserve to be protected and they are at risk everyday - that’s why working families need Governor Sisolak to place the Adolfo Fernandez Bill on the agenda for the next special session and for the Nevada Legislature to pass it without delay.”

The Culinary Union is collecting worker statements regarding unsafe working conditions throughout the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas, and will support the courageous workers who have come forward to share their experiences.

Since March 1, 2020, 22 Culinary Union members and/or their dependents have died from COVID-19. Through July 15, 2020, 352 Culinary and Bartenders Union members and their spouses or dependents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations for Culinary and Bartenders Union members and their spouses or dependents has increased 860% since Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, 2020 (from 5 patients in hospital on June 4 to 43 patients in the hospital on July 16).


Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union sent a letter to Governor Sisolak and Nevada Legislators requesting the Adolfo Fernandez Bill be placed on the agenda for the upcoming NVLEG 2020 special session. Adolfo Fernandez, contracted COVID-19 after being employed as a utility porter at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, and passed away. 

The Adolfo Fernandez Bill addresses public health and would mandate: 

*Enhanced cleaning procedures such as daily room cleaning.

*Enforce social distancing.

*Free testing for all workers before going back to work or those that have been exposed to COVID-19.

*Temperature-checks for workers.

*Detailed plans of action for when a worker contracts COVID-19 or is exposed to someone with the virus.

*Enhanced safety training for all employees.

The Adolfo Fernandez Bill would protect all workers in Nevada (union and non-union) their families, and their communities from the spread of 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 in the following areas on

  1. Requiring daily cleaning of guest rooms.
  2. Mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work and regular testing thereafter. 
  3. Providing adequate COVID-19 PPE for employees.
  4. Enforcing social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 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 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 -- approximately 55% women, 54% Latinx, 19% White, 15% Asian, 10% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples — and consists of guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for workers in Nevada for 85 years. / @Culinary226  


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