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Las Vegas Strip casino, restaurant workers take part in caravan demonstration

Strip workers seek transparency from casinos
Posted at 7:24 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 03:04:11-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UPDATE 11 P.M.: Hundreds of Culinary Union members took to the Las Vegas Strip to voice their concerns over what they say is a lack of transparency from casino companies about reopening safety procedures.

The trail of cars went on for what seemed like miles Tuesday afternoon.

Union members told 13 Action News their focus is making sure they can return to work without worry.

"You need to make it safe for not only the guests but also the employees," says Michael Brickner, MGM Grand employee.

Several resorts have released their safety plans, including MGM Resorts, Wynn, Treasure Island and Caesars.

Safety changes range from personal protective equipment use to COVID-19 tests that are paid for by the employer.

RELATED: Travel expert discusses possible safety changes at hotels, casinos following COVID-19 pandemic

"I have asthma, so I'm more at risk," said Juston Larsen, culinary worker. "We need to go back to work feeling safe, and we have coworkers that are scared to go back to work because they don't feel safe yet."

There is also frustration from workers over the uncertainty of when they can even go back to work.

"We've heard dates somewhere between May 15 and June 15," said Anthony Curtis, of Las Vegas Advisor. "I think it's going to be the first week of June, that's when we'll see most of these places open up, and we'll get an idea of what the landscape will be."

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ORIGINAL STORY: Many businesses have reopened across Nevada, but casinos remain closed. Members of the Culinary Union are frustrated, but before returning to work, they want to know they'll be safe.

The Culinary Union is planning a car caravan demonstration down Las Vegas Boulevard on Tuesday to push casinos to disclose their safety plans to the public.

Some workers feel like they've been left in the dark, and they want companies to be more transparent about how they plan to keep union members safe.

The group is calling on the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt some new safety policies, including protective gear for workers and enhanced cleaning at the properties.

13 Action News talked with some of the people who work in the casinos, and they say they have concerns about exposing themselves to COVID-19 once the casinos open back up.

"These are frontline workers, too," says Geoconda Arguello-Kline. "They serve the drinks, they clean the rooms, they're doing everything and they are in contact all the time."

While the future is uncertain for casinos and their workers, Anthony Curtis with the Las Vegas Advisor says the future of tourism is also unclear.

"The big question is how many people will come back? What percentage will come back? Certainly it will skew younger, a younger demographic, while older people may be more reluctant," says Curtis.
The caravan down Las Vegas Boulevard will start Tuesday at 5 p.m.