Some 36,000 employees of MGM Resorts and Caesars will receive health benefits until March 1, 2021, following a recent agreement with two unions in Las Vegas. Culinary Union executive Geoconda Argüello-Kline said that the agreements are “historic”.
Las Vegas Unions in an Agreement with MGM Resorts and Caesars
Thousands of working and furloughed employees at MGM and Caesars will keep receiving health benefits until March 1, 2021, following an agreement with two unions in Las Vegas. This was agreed by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 with the operators on Monday, August 31. According to the unions, some 36,000 employees working in 22 of Las Vegas Strip properties will be affected. Further breakdown of this number shows that the agreement will be beneficial for 12,000 Caesars employees and 24,000 MGM Resorts workers.
Besides the health benefits, under the agreement, employees will receive 10 days of paid leave in the event of quarantine. Employees that experience COVID-19 symptoms will not be subject to disciplinary actions and may receive up to 6 weeks of unpaid leave. Moreover, furloughed employees will be able to keep their seniority upon returning to work. Workers are also given the option to switch positions if positions open up.
Back in June, the Union filed a lawsuit against major operators in Las Vegas, aiming at enhanced employee protection. More recently, in July, the Union dropped its lawsuit against MGM Resorts, but outlined that it will continue to “negotiate aggressively”.
There Is a Family behind Every Worker
In a statement, Culinary Union executive Geoconda Argüello-Kline said: “Behind every worker is a family.” Furthermore, Argüello-Kline deemed the agreements with Caesars and MGM as “historic”. Here, we cannot miss saying that the Culinary Union consists of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165.
The Union represents some 60,000 employees working in the hotel and casino industry in both Reno and Las Vegas. The Union also said that a similar agreement with other Las Vegas hotels and casinos is currently in discussion. According to the Union, the new deal will aim to protect additional 24,000 workers.
Caesars CEO, Tom Reeg said that the agreement is “an important step in continuing to ensure our team members and their families are protected during these unpredictable times.”
MGM Resorts also replied in the form of a statement. MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said: “Our industry and communities are facing unprecedented challenges.“
Las Vegas Hotel and Gaming Industry Faces Difficult Recovery
Last week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority revealed its report with the number of visitors for Las Vegas in July. Although the report said that 370,000 more people visited Las Vegas when comparing June to July, the overall number of visitors remains low. When we compare the number of visitors for July 2019 and this year, we observe a 61% decrease. Furthermore, the paper outlines that July is the 4th month with zero conventions in Las Vegas.
Although the gaming and leisure industry in Las Vegas is trying to recover from the devastating COVID-19 hit, thousands of workers were previously furloughed or even laid off. Last week, MGM announced its plan to permanently lay off 18,000 employees which were previously furloughed.
The news about the pact of the Union with MGM came on the same day when the layoffs were officially in effect. However, MGM did stress that it will keep the health benefits of the affected 18,000 employees until September 30. On the bright side, the most recent agreement will undoubtedly help the 36,000 employees through March next year. And we can only hope that Las Vegas and the U.S. will be able to shake off the COVID-19 pandemic by that time and focus on recovery.