Workers Deliver Petition to Station Casinos about Health and Safety Risks
LAS VEGAS, NV — Last week, workers presented Station Casinos’ management at nine of its Las Vegas casinos with a petition signed by one hundred occupational health professionals calling on the company to assure full compliance with its responsibility to protect its workers from health and safety risks.
Station Casinos is partially owned by Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR).
“We have been understaffed for the last six to seven years and they don’t train people properly. The pots and pans are regularly dirty so I have to work extra hard to clean everything before I can cook, which adds a lot of stress to my job,” said Adolfo Gaspar, a cook at Palace Station for 13 years. “The company should hire more staff and provide better on-the-job training so we can work safe and give our customers great food.”
“We just had a health and safety training. The management rushed us through it, said we didn’t have to watch the video, and they even gave us the answers,” said Viola Butler, a hostess and cashier at Palace Station for 20 years. “There must be better ways to train your employees than that.”
The petition is an outcome of an academic study on the health and safety of non-union casino workers in Las Vegas that was presented at the American Public Health Association’s 2016 conference. The researchers found an array of occupational health and safety risks at casino hotels owned and managed by the employer subject of the blind study, which the Culinary Union has since identified as Station Casinos.
The Culinary Union commissioned the independent study after hearing disturbing stories from workers about health and safety issues at Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties. Conducted between March and July 2015, the study involved 61 workers, evenly distributed across guest room attendants, porters, kitchen staff, and front-of-house job classifications from eight different Station Casino properties. The report was written by Diana Romero, PhD, of the City University of New York’s (CUNY’s) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and Kathleen Flandrick, MPH.
“The findings from this study are very clear. Unfortunately, workers across all job classifications – from guest room attendants and porters to kitchen and front-of-house staff – described being exposed to unsafe and unhealthful working conditions,” said report author Dr. Diana Romero. “These findings present a great opportunity for casino management to take a close look at their supervisory practices and on-the-ground work conditions in order to make changes that will benefit both management and the health and safety of their workers.”
This latest study comes on the heels of an independent human rights report authored by three legal scholars that raised allegations of human rights abuses surrounding worker health and safety and other issues at Station Casinos’ properties.
“My biggest issue is that I rarely get to take my breaks. It’s too hard to finish my workload and take my lunch break, so I rarely do,” said Stephanie Holmes, a guest room attendant at Palace Station for 14 years. “We can be disciplined for not taking our break, but we are also disciplined if we don’t finish our rooms. It really puts me in a difficult place. I hope this petition convinces the company to revise its policies and make our workload safer.”
The findings from the health and safety study exposed a lack of proper supplies, faulty equipment, issues surrounding breaks and meal periods, understaffing, lack of training, perceived discrimination, and exposures that negatively affect the health of employees. Other notable findings include:
- 85% of respondents said that first aid supplies were not easily available at work.
- Study participants described receiving reprimands and warnings for situations such as reporting a gun in a guest’s room where the guest claimed the worker had gone through his things or being blamed for a health code violation when a worker used a broken food warmer.
- Stress from work was the most frequently reported health complaint.
- One-third of guest room attendant respondents said they were not provided with a separate sponge/rag to clean toilets.
- 61% of respondents said they “feel discriminated against at work.”
“The findings of this health and safety study confirm what workers have told us for years about the unfair working conditions at Station Casinos,” said Geoconda Arguello Kline, Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Union. “Station Casinos’ workers deserve better.”
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 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 is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with over 57,000 members - a diverse membership that is approximately 55% women and 56% Latino. Members -who work as guest room attendants, bartenders, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, and kitchen workers- come from 167 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 over 82 years.
The Culinary Union encourages the public to stay away from Nevada hotels and casinos involved in active labor disputes such as most of the Station Casinos properties, including Palms, Red Rock Resort, and Green Valley Ranch. (We note that the company’s Boulder Station does not currently have a labor dispute.) To see the list of hotels and casinos in an active labor dispute, go to: VegasTravelAlert.org.