Las Vegas Culinary Union Meeting with Casinos Regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus

Posted on: March 10, 2020, 09:29h. 

Last updated on: March 10, 2020, 11:22h.

The powerful Culinary Union Local 226 that represents casino workers in Nevada is meeting with gaming companies in Las Vegas and Reno regarding the deadly COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak.

Culinary Union Las Vegas coronavirus
The Culinary Union says it’s approaching Las Vegas and Reno casino employers with new demands stemming from the coronavirus epidemic. (Image: LE Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has confirmed the second presumptive positive case of the 2019 coronavirus disease. The patient is a woman in her 70s and is currently hospitalized and in isolation. She self-reported only in-state recent travel.

The first COVID-19 diagnosis came last week. That individual, a man in his 50s, had recently traveled to Washington state and Texas. He remains hospitalized in serious condition.

As a result, the Culinary Union – which represents 60,000 resort employees in Las Vegas and Reno – is meeting with casino operators to address the health crisis.

“The Culinary Union is sending requests to all of the casino companies to meet immediately and bargain on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak,” the union explained.

The union didn’t specify as to what response it’s seeking from its members’ employers. But its parent organization is fighting for federal mandates that would require companies or the US government to provide workers with paid sick days.  

Paid Sick Days

Unite Here, the national parent organization to the Culinary Union Local 226, is calling on Congress to pass laws that mandate sick workers be paid for unavoidable time off. Most casino workers are already afforded a certain number of paid sick days, but Unite Here President D. Taylor says many employees are not.

“It is essential that Congress take decisive action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and that workers stay home when they are sick. We strongly believe that whatever monies Congress allocates toward virus response must take into account workers’ time and must include paid sick leave,” Taylor stated.

Not everyone can afford to take time off when they’re sick. That’s why there is no better moment to enact national policy on paid sick time,” he added. “We are closely monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 and are concerned for the safety and well-being of all workers.”

Currently, 11 states, plus DC, have laws mandating paid sick leave for at least some employers. Nevada is not one of them. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has called on the legislature to bring a paid sick leave bill to his desk.

Southern Nevada Advisories

The SNHD is urging people not to come to the emergency room unless it is essential. The Health District says the ER department needs to focus on those most critical at this time. For individuals with a mild cough, fever, or other respiratory symptoms, the SNHD says they should first see their doctor.

Preventative practices include frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, covering your cough, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Most importantly, individuals who are not feeling well are advised to stay home.