LAS VEGAS — Thousands of hotel, casino and restaurant workers marched Friday on the Las Vegas Strip to highlight their call for employers to rehire more people who were furloughed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the reopening of casinos and hotels, Culinary Union officials said about one-third of its members — or about 21,000 workers — remain out of work some 19 months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nevada.
Many idled employees have now exhausted public unemployment benefits, they said.
“Workers in Las Vegas have built the hospitality industry over the Culinary Union’s 87 years and they should be centered as the economy recovers from the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” the union said in a statement ahead of the evening event scheduled to coincide with shift changes on a busy weekend of Strip sports and entertainment.
“This march is not a protest against any casino company,” union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said Friday. “It is a march, not a strike, rally, action, or a demonstration.”
Workers chanted “full-service restaurants” and “full-service cleaning” as they started marching Friday evening from Flamingo Road on Las Vegas Boulevard where police closed off sections of The Strip.
The union statement said the goal was to highlight that hospitality workers “are ready to prepare and serve great food in full-service restaurants, make and serve quality drinks and beverages, and ensure guest rooms are cleaned and sanitized daily.”