Posted on: April 28, 2023, 12:41h.
Last updated on: April 28, 2023, 02:47h.
The Nevada Resort Association and Culinary Union Local 226 chapter in Las Vegas are at odds over state legislation that seeks to repeal a lingering law stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. That law requires daily cleaning for hotel rooms in Clark and Washoe counties daily.
Senate Bill 4 was signed by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) in August 2020. The law, which the Senate Committee of the Whole introduced, requires that all public lodging facilities, including casino hotels, clean their occupied rooms daily.
Its supporters viewed the statute as a way to force hotels and casinos that had trimmed their workforces amid the coronavirus and cut certain services like daily housekeeping to rehire employees. SB4 backers also contended that daily room cleanings increased health and safety standards.
“Senate Bill 4 is first in the nation legislation that will institute important worker protections in the hospitality industry,” Sisolak (D) said while signing the bill. “There is no doubt that our travel and tourism employees are the lifeblood of the Nevada economy. Without them, our resorts are absent of the hospitality component that makes Nevada one of the top tourism destinations in the world and the gold standard in cleanliness.”
SB4 applied only to counties with at least 100K residents — Clark and Washoe. Nearly three years after the daily housekeeping law was signed, new legislation seeking to repeal the law is gaining traction in Carson City.
Casinos, Union Differ
State Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop (D-District 8) voted in favor of SB4 in August 2020. But with the pandemic now largely an afterthought, the Las Vegas Valley lawmaker believes it’s time to do away with the daily room-cleaning mandate.
Loop is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 441, which seeks to repeal SB4 and return hotel cleaning laws to 2019. The bill is supported by the Nevada Resort Association, which lobbies on behalf of the state’s gaming and resort interests in Carson City. The trade group says many guests don’t want daily housekeeping for various reasons.
Guests want to choose if they have daily housekeeping,” Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Some do and some don’t. People may stay up all night and sleep during the day.”
Valentine says state lawmakers should allow hotels and their guests to decide the cleaning frequency during their stays. Culinary Union officials, however, say SB411 is little more than a cleverly designed statute that provides casinos with the freedom to further trim their workforces and embark on other cost-saving measures.
“Protecting daily room cleaning means protecting workers, protecting Las Vegas’ image, and protecting hotel customers,” declared Ted Pappageorge, Culinary’s secretary-treasurer for the 226 chapter. “Customers are still paying for first-class rooms, but not getting first-class service. Ultimately, Nevada’s reputation of being a premier hospitality destination suffers.”
Loop introduced SB411 in March, and the bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services earlier this month. The statute received full state Senate support last week with an 18-3 vote.
The measure has since moved to the state Assembly and the chamber’s Commerce and Labor Committee. The bill is on the committee’s agenda for its May 1 meeting.