LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Traffic was backed up on the Las Vegas Strip for several hours on Friday, as the city prepared for a large march from the Culinary Union. This led to lane closures at both ends of the Strip, as marchers called for the full restoration of service in restaurants.
The Culinary Union had a march all the way from Flamingo Road down to Harmon Avenue, and then returned to Flamingo as it called for the remaining 21,000 of its Union Members to get full employment once more.
“The hotels here in town are working on skeleton crews, but Vegas is open,” said Mario Sandoval, a longtime food server. “They need to bring us back to work. We are ready to go back to work.”
Sandoval has worked at Top of Binion’s Steakhouse downtown for 36 years. Binion’s is currently closed for remodeling with no re-opening date. And Sandoval says if that is the case, he is tired of being left in the dark.
“I just wish they would tell me, ‘You know what? We’re not opening the restaurant anymore. Don’t come back. We’re never opening.’ My heart would be more at ease if they told me that,” he said. “But they can’t even tell me that.”
He is just one of many union members trying to get back to work, but not if it means losing 36 years of advancement. And he says the openings available right now mean just that.
“No vacation time, less pay when you start, no seniority,” said Sandoval. “I’m ready to go back to work Las Vegas. I’ve been waiting, I’ve been fighting, and I’m ready to go back. COVID? I’m done with COVID, let’s put it that way.”
Caesars Entertainment gave us a statement, saying in part:
“Caesars Entertainment is committed to our Team Members, both union and non-union. We are proud to have returned 93% of our UNITEHere Team Members to work across our Las Vegas properties. The small percentage who have not returned have chosen another professional or personal path and declined an offer to return, or their positions are in areas where the business demand has not returned. All Team Members in positions where the business has not returned have been offered opportunities to maintain their seniority and remain with the company in roles within and outside of union representation. We are currently looking to fill 1701 union positions, mainly in housekeeping, laundry, and environmental services, and 1743 non-Union positions in attractions, retail, and security. We welcome any interested candidates to visit Caesars.com/careers [caesars.com] for more information and to apply.”
While a spokesperson for MGM Resorts said:
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we focused on doing all that we can to support furloughed employees and made getting them back to work one of our top priorities. We’ve brought back a significant number of employees as Las Vegas recovered and are hiring even more as business increases with the return of conventions and large-scale events. We share the union’s concern for the wellbeing of workers and the economy and will continue working closely with them as we emerge from the pandemic and build on our recovery.”