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Las Vegas Hospitality Union Drops Virus Lawsuit Against MGM

July 21, 2020, 11:27 PM

A Las Vegas hospitality union dropped a lawsuit against MGM Resorts International for allegedly failing to protect workers from the coronavirus.

In a statement, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said it abandoned legal action in favor of “expedited” arbitration over new safety measures. The union is still pursuing a similar lawsuit against Caesars Entertainment Corp.

The union alleges that both companies failed to protect workers by not requiring guests to wear masks, not informing employees of positive Covid-19 tests in the workplace, and not attempting to keep customers a safe distance from workers during shifts. It argues that the dearth of protections violates collective bargaining agreements with the companies, and last month it asked a federal judge for an injunction while parties resolved the dispute for arbitration.

“This arbitration is a first step and the Culinary Union will continue to negotiate aggressively and take any other steps necessary to ensure workers and their families are protected,” Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said in the statement.

In a statement, MGM called the lawsuit “frivolous” to begin with. “We hope that the Culinary Union will work collaboratively with us in the future when it comes to health and safety issues,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

Twenty-two Culinary Union members and their dependents have died of Covid-19 since March, according to the union. More than 350 have been hospitalized since July 15.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at ikullgren@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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