labor Nevada's Culinary Union Details Reopening Demands: Workers Are Not 'Rats in a Lab'
As Nevada prepares to ease COVID-19 restrictions and allow resorts to reopen, the state's most powerful labor union is demanding casinos enforce strict health and sanitation guidelines before workers return to jobs.
At the top of the list? The Culinary Union and its parent organization UNITE HERE want every one of the 60,000 workers in Nevada tested for coronavirus before going back to work.
“It’s life and death, that’s the way we see things,” said Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline in a Tuesday morning video media briefing. “The workers we represent, they are on the front lines.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak last week extended a stay-at-home order for Nevadans through May 15, a directive that remains in effect "until the state meets the necessary criteria set forth last week and consistent with the White House guidelines to demonstrate the state is making sufficient progress to slow the spread of COVID-19."
Here are some of the protocols the Culinary Union is urging officials and properties to mandate and adopt:
- Testing of all workers for the COVID-19 virus and antibodies before they can return.
- Thermal monitoring of guests and workers at all properties to stem the spread of the contagious illness that's killed 267 people in Nevada as of May 5.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) made widely available to workers and guests.
- More frequent and more intensive cleaning of all surfaces – after workers are trained to follow new cleaning orders.
- Strictly enforced social distancing among guests and workers at each properties.
Goodman suggested that Las Vegas become “a control group” city to test how relaxing restrictions would affect residents.“I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician you can’t do that because people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city,” Goodman said. “We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against.”
Public officials should be scrutinized and held accountable if lax health and sanitation guidelines lead to the sickening of guests and workers, Taylor said.
"We can't rely on examples of politicians like this," he said.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette-Journal and the USA Today Network.