Casinos throughout Nevada were closed Wednesday, along with other nonessential businesses, following an unprecedented order from Gov. Steve Sisolak. He urged residents to stay home to help curtail the spread of the new coronavirus. (March 18) AP Domestic
LAS VEGAS – Nevada’s most powerful union is calling on all casinos to pay employees through the coronavirus shutdown that’s put thousands out of work without wages.
During a Thursday video conference, union members under the umbrella of UNITE HERE – the parent of Local 226 in Nevada – focused on throngs of casino workers navigating the pandemic with a paycheck
Las Vegas hotel-casinos like the Sahara, Treasure Island and Westgate are not paying employees anything to help soften financial fallout, according to UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor.
“That’s unconscionable to us,” Taylor said.
The union celebrated the actions of Wynn Resorts, where pay is guaranteed for more than 15,000 workers through May 15. Tipped employees will receive the average of tips distributed since the start of the year.
About 1,200 workers at 14 restaurants inside The Venetian will get emergency pay through the current COVID-19 shutdown of the Strip.
Las Vegas Sands will cover payroll costs for salaried employees and give weekly stipends to hourly and part-time employees. The internal restaurant stimulus is in addition to Sands paying 9,300 company employees through April 30, when Nevada’s mandated closure is set to end.
Meanwhile, 90 percent of Caesars Entertainment’s 64,000 workers have been furloughed. The resort giant is now using the minimum workforce needed to run basic operations at properties.
Caesars is paying furloughed employees for the first two weeks of the closure period. Those employees can use available paid time off after that.
That’s not enough, Taylor said.
“They should pay throughout the closures,” he said.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak last week extended its sweeping COVID-19 shutdown an extra two weeks, keeping all casinos and other nonessential businesses dark until April 30. The economic stoppage has led to thousands of job losses and unemployment claims throughout Nevada and the U.S.
The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way the union negotiates contracts with casinos in the future, Taylor said.
“You’re only judged by your deeds, not your words,” Taylor said. “This will have long-term implications.”
The Culinary Union represents 60,000 housekeepers, porters and bartenders working in Nevada casinos.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.
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