Casino unions drop MGM from coronavirus lawsuit

Las Vegas casino unions have dropped two MGM Resorts International properties from a lawsuit accusing the companies of putting employees at risk during COVID-19 due to inadequate protective measures.

MGM lion

The unions, which represent 65,000 casino workers, filed a lawsuit against three Las Vegas Strip casinos last month under the Labour-Management Relations Act regarding hazardous working conditions, alleging that current rules and procedures in response to workers contracting the virus have been “dangerously” inept.

The lawsuit, filed in the Las Vegas District Court, implicated owners of The Signature at MGM Grand, Sadelle’s Cafe at Bellagio and Guy Fieri Las Vegas at Harrah’s in what was one of the first efforts to hold employers legally responsible for COVID-19 infections in the US.

According to a report by AP, Culinary Union executive Geoconda Argüello-Kline called it a victory to drop legal proceedings against the owner of the Bellagio resort and the Signature Condominiums towers, allowing for “expedited arbitration” between the companies and union representatives.

“Workers who make this city run deserve to be protected and they are at risk,” said Argüello-Kline in a statement. She also reported that 22 Culinary Union members or dependent family members have died from the virus since the beginning of March.

MGM Resorts on Tuesday called the court filing “frivolous”, noting that the union action came just ahead of a court-imposed deadline and after the company filed a legal challenge.

“We hope that the Culinary Union will work collaboratively with us in the future when it comes to health and safety issues,” said MGM in statement.

The lawsuit filed in June sought a court order under federal collective bargaining law to force the companies to tighten coronavirus safety measures. Four days later, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a mandatory face covering policy for anyone in “any generally publicly accessible space” including casinos and other businesses.

Despite the policy, the unions’ Local Joint Executive Board have not dropped charges against Caesars Entertainment, who alleges Caesars only “encouraged” instead of required guests to use facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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