The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 dropped its lawsuit against MGM Resorts calling for stricter protections for workers at casinos and resorts that reopened during the coronavirus pandemic. The culinary union and MGM Resorts agreed to enter expedited arbitration over safety concerns.
The lawsuit alleged that The Signature at MGM Grand and Sadelle’s Cafe at the Bellagio, both owned by MGM Resorts International, didn’t provide reasonable rules and procedures to address the spread of COVID-19. The lawsuit alleged the properties did not shut down when they learned about positive tests from staff, did not conduct contact tracing, did not inform staff about an employee testing positive for COVID-19, and “provided workers with flatly false information about how COVID-19 spreads and what its symptoms are, in an effort to keep workers on the job and revenues flowing.”
“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,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the culinary union, says in a press statement.
The Bellagio and Signature filed a motion to dismiss the case in early July, claiming the union never proposed safety concerns and the casino giant only learned about them after the union filed its lawsuit.
The lawsuit also included Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq, owned by Caesars Entertainment. There, employees said that the restaurant did not handle a co-worker’s positive COVID-19 test properly and didn’t require staff to be tested before returning to work. That portion of the lawsuit is ongoing.
In the meantime, the union continues to take member statements about unsafe working conditions.
The culinary union says that 22 members and their dependents have died from COVID-19 since March 1, and 352 members and their spouses or dependents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations for union members and their spouses or dependents increased 860 percent since Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, increasing from five patients in hospital on June 4 to 43 patients in the hospital on July 16.