Friday marks the deadline for certain employees at a number Las Vegas casinos to get vaccinated in order to keep their job.
MGM Resorts International and Westgate implemented new policies in recent months that require some employees to be vaccinated. MGM’s policy affects only salaried workers, while Westgate’s affects only non-union employees. Both policies went into effect Friday.
Westgate Chief Operating Officer Mark Waltrip said in a statement Friday that nearly all of the employees covered by its policy will be vaccinated.
“Westgate Resorts is proud to be one of the first large resort companies across the United States to require its Team Members to be vaccinated. The health and welfare of our Westgate Team Members and guests is our top priority and we are pleased to share that as of this weekend over 98% of the Team Members working in our resorts and corporate offices will be fully vaccinated,” Waltrip said.
MGM also started requiring proof of vaccination for all new hires, including hourly and salaried, as of Aug. 30.
“I know that for some of you this may be an unwelcome development — a consideration that we did not take lightly when making this decision,” Hornbuckle wrote in a letter to MGM employees in August. “However, as one of the largest and most trusted operators and employers in our industry, MGM Resorts is determined to do our part to curb the spread of the virus and help counter alarming trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccination is the most effective tool in doing so.”
Neither of the policies from MGM or Westgate affects unionized workers, but talks are underway between the state’s largest union and gaming companies, Culinary Union Local 226 spokeswoman Bethany Khan said. The union represents about 60,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas and Reno.
“The Culinary Union will remain vigilant to ensure workers are protected at work, are actively negotiating with gaming companies to have agreements which reflect those goals, and we continue to urge hospitality employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as they are safe, proven and effective,” Khan said in a statement Friday.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s plan to mandate that companies with 100 or more workers require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for the virus moved closer to implementation this week.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday sent a finalized draft of the emergency order to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, according to the Department of Labor. The agency has 90 days to review the rule or send it back to OSHA for changes.