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Las Vegas, NV - In a survey conducted by UNITE HERE’s Culinary and Bartender Unions of over 10,000 Las Vegas casino workers: 59% of cocktail servers and 27% of hotel housekeepers said they had been sexually harassed by guests, managers or others while on the job. 72% of cocktail servers and 53% of hotel housekeepers said a guest had done something to make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
The Culinary Union, Nevada’s largest union, is actively reaching out to Las Vegas tourists and asking them to pledge to not sexually harass Las Vegas casino workers while they are visiting. Other UNITE HERE locals will be leafleting the pledge at major airports around the country. The pledge is available on the Culinary Union’s Vegas Travel Alert website: www.VegasTravelAlert.org/Pledge
The results of the survey and worker concerns led the Culinary and Bartenders Unions to propose stronger safety protections in current contract negotiations for 50,000 workers in 34 casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. The contracts expire midnight May 31, 2018.
Two major casino companies, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which respectively employ 24,000 and 12,000 union workers, have been positively responsive to the contract proposals on sexual harassment and safety buttons for guest room attendants.
“We are pleased on the progress in discussions with the companies about sexual harassment and safety,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We also want to make sure Las Vegas visitors know they have to respect casino workers and they cannot abuse them.”
“I was carrying a heavy tray full of drinks on the casino floor, and a high roller at the dice game grabbed me by the neck with both of his hands and forced me to kiss him for good luck,” said Debra Jeffries, a cocktail server at Bally’s, a Caesars Entertainment Corporation casino resort. “I have permanent nerve damage from that incident and I live in pain everyday.”
“We are here to do our jobs and provide incredible, world-class customer service for our guests,” said Maria Landeros, a guest room attendant at the MGM Grand, MGM Resorts International property. “We are not here to be abused or have people think that just because it’s Las Vegas anything goes.”
Union contracts covering 50,000 union workers expire on June 1, 2018 at 34 casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, including properties operated by MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Penn National, Golden Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and other companies.
The hospitality employees who are preparing to go out on strike after June 1 include: Bartenders, guest room attendants, cocktail servers, food servers, porters, bellman, cooks, and kitchen workers employed at the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
The Culinary and Bartenders Unions are negotiating new contract language to provide greater measure of security for members including workplace safety, sexual harassment, subcontracting, technology, and immigration. In addition, the Union’s economic proposal seeks to provide workers a fair share of the employers’ enormous anticipated cash flows and Trump tax windfalls.
ABOUT THE CULINARY UNION:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent over 57,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.
The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 143,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.
The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with over 57,000 members - a diverse membership that is approximately 55% women and 54% Latino. Members - who work as guest room attendants, bartenders, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, and kitchen workers - come from 173 countries and speak over 40 different languages. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for working men and women in Nevada for 83 years.