After months of negotiations, members of the Bartenders Union Local 165 and Culinary Workers Union Local 226 have new agreements in place with a pair of the Las Vegas Strip’s largest resort companies to ensure greater protections for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes several months after the same unions filed lawsuits against the Bellagio, Signature and Harrah’s with lawsuits in Nevada federal court, claiming these resorts implemented “unreasonable’ regulations for the pandemic that failed to protect workers and their families.
In the original complaint filed in June, the unions claimed the regulations for dealing with workers who contracted the virus were “dangerously inadequate.” At least 19 union members and their dependents had died from the virus since March.
The lawsuit alleged companies only encouraged mask wearing by guests in public areas rather than requiring it, until an official mandate came down from the governor. Workers were required to wear masks.
In addition, the unions alleged employers did not properly inform workers about positive COVID-19 tests at the three resort venues. In one case, at the Signature, a worker was never informed he was in close contact with another employee who tested positive, despite the positive-testing employee informing higher ups of the test result and the close contact they had with him. That employee later tested positive for the virus.
The new agreement offers culinary union members continued coverage with no-monthly premiums and full family health care through the Culinary Health Fund for furloughed workers through March 2021. Union members laid off during the pandemic will be able to be called back up for two years to their same positions and rights, and will be able to work in different jobs if there is a worker shortage. The agreement gives union members 10 paid days off if the employer or the Southern Nevada Health District issues a quarantine, and will not be subjected to discipline if they call out sick due to virus symptoms. Finally, union members will also be able to request up to six weeks of unpaid leave.
For more information about how you can report improper or unsafe conduct regarding the COVID-19 pandemic within your workplace, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.