Health Insurance for Las Vegas Casino Workers Can Be Kept until March
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Thousands of employees at two of the biggest Las Vegas casino companies, Caesars Entertainment Inc. and MGM Resorts, can keep on enjoying their family benefits up to at least March 1. Officials said that this decision came about after an agreement featuring various unions representing culinary workers and bartenders. This was agreed upon on Monday, August 31, affecting approximately 36,000 workers in twenty-two Las Vegas strip properties.
What Does This Mean for the Casino Employees?
This is good news for the thousands of workers amid the pandemic that has seen a lot of casinos opting for retrenchment exercises to survive the lockdown restrictions. Recently, it was discovered that thousands of MGM Resort workers would be out of work on Monday. This was according to the letter sent to the employees by CEO Bill Hornbuckle. According to the letter, the employees were informed that the federal law required the real online casino to provide a date of separation for employees who are not recalled within six months. It meant that August 31 marked the separation for thousands of its employees that it could not recall.
These layoffs happened just five months into the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of most resorts across the U.S. These closures meant that many jobs got lost in the hospitality industry and that the tourist economy also came to a stand-still. The layoffs will impact about 18,000 employees. This is a fourth of the 68,000 people that worked for the company before the pandemic struck. However, the company assured the workers that they would receive their health benefits and remain on its recall list.
At the beginning of the lockdown restrictions, the company forecasted some of the struggles it would face. It foresaw a significant reduction in revenue, non-booking and cancelations at hotels, and other entertainment events. Cancellations and postponements of convention bookings were also to be expected.
In a recent statement, Tom Reeg, Caesars CEO, referred to the recent agreement as an important step that was supposed to ensure that its employees and their families remained protected amid the ongoing pandemic. However, in Las Vegas, various casinos have reopened since the government lifted the closure orders on June 4.
An Example to Other Casinos
Recently, there have been reports from different parts of the world where we have seen most companies in various industries shutting down due to the pandemic. Casinos and real money slots have also not been left out of this as we have also seen many of them shutting down.
However, the casino industry should treat this as a wake-up call. In the future, the industry should ensure that it has the necessary measures in a place supposed to take care of their employees should similar circumstances happen in the future. This will not only help to shield the employees but also the families that depend on them. Therefore, the industry must find other means of earning its revenue, such as partnering with other industries and having special package plans for employees designed to cushion them from unseen events that might affect the industry.
What Is the Government Doing to Cushion Employees from the Pandemic?
The unions representing bartenders, cooks, vehicle valets, and hotel housekeepers sued MGM resorts later in June, seeking to have the company tighten safety protocols that would protect the company’s employees’ health. Later on, the state legislature passed a law requiring all hotels and casinos to enhance their cleaning and safety training. All of them need to enforce social distance measures, begin checking temperatures for detecting any fever symptoms, and develop clear plans if any of their workers contracted the virus.
However, the suit got dismissed in August. Therefore, on Monday, the unions claimed that the health insurance agreement would affect 24,000 employees from MGM Resorts and 12,000 employees from Caesars. The union also claimed that its officials aim to negotiate and find a solution for 24,000 employees at other hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.
The companies agreed that they would give employees ten paid off-days if the local officials ordered them to quarantine. Also, there will be no disciplinary measures taken against workers isolated due to COVID-19 symptoms.
The Gaming Industry Will Face a Difficult Recovery
Even after lifting lockdown restrictions and various bans related to gambling, the industry is still facing a hard time to recover from the damage caused. This is because most people are still shy about meeting up at social places due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. In Las Vegas, most gambling companies are recovering from the pandemic, but it believes that with some patience, it will get back to where it was before. The good thing is that MGM has maintained that it will keep the 18,000 affected employees’ health benefits until September 30.