Wynn Las Vegas: Union Scheduling and Healthcare Request “Forces” Layoffs

Wynn Resorts said Monday that the Culinary Union’s request for 40-hour schedules and healthcare benefits “forces” the company to lay off employees.

Layoffs Could Begin in Early 2021

On Monday, Wynn Resorts warned its Las Vegas employees of possible layoffs as early as January 11, following the Culinary and Bartenders Union’s request that full-time employees go back to their pre-pandemic working schedule.

In a letter to Union employees, Wynn said that the scheduling changes will force the company to furlough many employees and will affect many others, “disrupting so many lives.”

The Culinary and Bartenders Union demanded the casino operator’s employees work their full 40-hour weeks. It withdrew its original request for immediate action and gave Wynn until mid-January to comply with the requirements.

Wynn had reduced working hours during the pandemic, in order to avoid furloughs. “When we re-opened, we believed it was in the best interests of our employees and their families to keep as many of our staff working as possible, even if it meant each individual worked fewer hours,” the company expressed in its letter. Wynn stated that the Culinary Union had been in favor of this approach until about a month ago.

Wynn Workers Lose Healthcare Coverage

Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 made a move last week to force Wynn Resorts to go back to union rules. In its response to Wynn issued Tuesday, the Culinary Union urged Wynn Resorts to agree with the union’s plan to ensure continuous healthcare for its staff until March 2021, in the steps of MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment.

Twenty-three casino-resorts on the Strip, including MGM and Caesars’ properties and the Blackstone Group’s The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, agreed to set flexible work schedules to reduce job cuts in exchange for the additional healthcare benefits.

Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline declared that Wynn has left nearly 1,000 workers without any health coverage since October 31, unlike other gaming companies on the Strip, and took advantage of the extension. “Culinary and Bartenders Union members on the Strip have their health care secured to March 1, 2021, and beyond,” Ms. Argüello-Kline added.

Wynn To Begin Rescheduling Process

According to Wynn, the union left the company with no other option. The operator also said it has not received any complaint prior to the Culinary union’s request. Wynn said it will “begin the process of rebidding schedules [to] comply with the “fewer employees working more” program on January 11, 2021.”

Negotiations are underway between the union and Wynn, which had refused to pay for four additional months of healthcare benefits for nearly 5,000 unionized employees at its Las Vegas properties, Wynn and Encore. For an undisclosed number of furloughed employees, those benefits were scheduled to expire on the last day of October. Roughly half of its members are still furloughed, the Culinary union said.

All of Wynn’s staff received full wages during the 75-day shutdown. Wynn employed about 15,000 workers in Nevada before the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to more than 30,000 internationally, including Massachusetts and Macau.

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