MGM Resorts Again Revamps Testing Protocols for Unvaccinated Workers

Posted on: December 29, 2021, 10:49h. 

Last updated on: December 29, 2021, 11:22h.

MGM Resorts has become increasingly frustrated with its Las Vegas team members who continue to refuse vaccination against COVID-19.

As a result, the company is soon implementing a new testing process that will likely result in many such workers either becoming inoculated or leaving the company.

MGM Resorts COVID-19 testing coronavirus
MGM Resorts, which operates MGM Grand (pictured), is requiring unvaccinated hourly employees in Las Vegas to undergo a weekly COVID-19 test to continue working at the casino company. Rapid tests will not be accepted. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle wrote in a letter to the company’s Las Vegas workforce dated December 28 that non-vaccinated hourly team members effective January 10 will need to undergo COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis on their own dime.

The chief executive explains that hourly workers must present evidence of a negative coronavirus test every seven days. Hornbuckle says the employees will need to pay $75 a week — which is the full cost of the test — for onsite tests. Hourly workers will not be permitted to undergo onsite testing while on the clock.

Workers can also obtain testing elsewhere and upload their results to their My MGM employee account. Rapid tests results are not acceptable. Only PCR or lab-based antigen tests are permitted.

Action Needed

MGM Resorts operates more casinos on the Las Vegas Strip than any other company. Nevada’s largest employer claims it is concerned with the growing number of new COVID-19 cases because of the omicron variant.

Hornbuckle reasoned that with positivity rates rising once again in Southern Nevada, “Now is the time to take action” to help slow the spread.

Protect yourself and those who you love,” Hornbuckle pleaded in the letter. “Please get vaccinated. If you are already fully vaccinated, get a booster shot.”

The MGM leader opined that when the casino giant’s workforce steps up and gets their shots, it displays the company’s commitment to health and safety. Hornbuckle is also encouraging workers and visitors to wear a face mask while inside MGM resorts.

A Twitter user under the moniker “Phil K” claims to be an hourly worker. He responded to Las Vegas Locally sharing the Hornbuckle letter.

“Quit creating classes of workers based on fallacies,” Phil commented. He signed his response, “A vaccinated hourly employee who currently has COVID.”

Nevada’s 14-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases stands at 751. That’s up from about 150 new cases a day in June.

However, the spread currently being experienced in Nevada is significantly lower than the approximately 2,100 new daily cases reported at this time last year.

Costly Testing

Nevada’s minimum wage is currently $8.75 for workers who qualify for health benefits, and $9.75 for those who do not. For many MGM Resorts hourly workers, they are compensated less than $20 per hour.

A weekly $75 COVID-19 test on a 30-hour weekly work schedule would account for 12.5 percent of the employee’s gross compensation. After taxes, the $75 represents an even larger percentage of the worker’s take-home pay.

MGM initially debuted a testing policy for non-vaccinated hourly workers in August that required them to pay $15 a week for onsite tests. MGM amended that protocol last month by announcing that the onsite tests would increase in price to $38.

Soon to be at $75 a week, if an unvaccinated hourly worker stays with MGM for the duration of 2022, they should be expected to pay their employer almost $3,900 for onsite COVID-19 testing.