A new bill introduced in the Nevada State Senate hopes to give workers who lost their hospitality and travel jobs due to the pandemic the right to return to jobs when business reopens or resumes operations. Senate Bill 386, dubbed Right to Return, winds its way through the state senate’s commerce and labor committee.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 says that cities such as Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and San Diego already have ordinances that give workers the right to get their jobs back. The bill also prevents employers from forcing older workers to take early retirement instead of hiring them back.
The culinary union shared a story about Jorge Padilla, who worked as a banquet food server for nine years at Green Valley Ranch making $13.40 an hour before he was laid off in March 2020 when the pandemic started. He tells Time magazine that while the resort is hiring, he has not been contacted. According to Padilla, the company requires former employees to reapply for their jobs. Back in October, the culinary union estimated that 58 percent of workers Station Casinos workers in its bargaining unit lost their jobs. If Padilla reapplied for a new job at the resort, he says he would lose seniority, vacation time, and his previous hourly rate.
In October, Green Valley Ranch parent company Station Casinos told Time in a statement “that 1,300 workers who were laid off have returned to work, making the same or more money than they did before the layoffs, ‘unless they took a job in a different classification.’”
In Nevada, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in February, down -0.2 percentage point from January 2021 and up 4.6 percent from February 2020, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Las Vegas employment increased by 1,300 jobs in February, a decrease of 145,600 jobs since February 2020.
“Already, tens of thousands of Nevada’s workers risk dire economic uncertainty. They have already been unemployed for over a year dealing with an overrun unemployment system, food insecurity, housing issues, and a range of other issues due the public health and economic crisis,” says Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the culinary union. “Knowing they will get their job back would at least give workers a hope they will not become homeless or struggle to feed their families, which are fears too many Nevadans and their families are dealing with every day.”
Lawmakers must pass the bill in the committee before Friday, April 9.