Nevada Resorts, Casino Union Spar Over Daily Housekeeping

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The Nevada Resort Association and Culinary Union Local 226 chapter in Las Vegas is at odds over state legislation that seeks to repeal a lingering law stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic that requires hotel rooms in Clark and Washoe counties to be cleaned daily.

A guestroom attendant at The Venetian cleans a bathroom. The Nevada Resort Association and Culinary Union Local 226 in Las Vegas differ on whether the state should mandate the daily cleaning of hotel guestrooms. (Image: The Venetian Resort)

Senate Bill 4 was signed by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) in August 2020. The law, which was introduced by the Senate Committee of the Whole, requires that all public lodging facilities, including casino hotels, clean their occupied rooms on a daily basis.

The statute was viewed by its supporters 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 that have 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 a variety of 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.”

Bill Progress

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.

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