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Rod Smith

Bellagio Workers Lose Out on Pay

13 April 2004

The continuing power outage at the Bellagio has left many of the megaresort's 8,000 workers out of work and without pay for at least a day.

D. Taylor, secretary-treasurer of Culinary Local 226 which represents 3,925 of the workers, said the idled workers and lost pay are a serious concern to the union and it will urge the company to restore workers' hourly pay while the resort is closed.

Taylor said the idled workers are of great concern to the union on two fronts because workers will lose both their hourly pay and their tips.

"I don't know the full scope of the effects on our workforce yet and once we know that, we'll talk with the company. This is a question of their income now," he said.

"The workers should clearly be paid for the time they're (not working), even though I haven't consulted with our attorneys yet," Taylor said.

The company began sending some of its employees home Sunday following an early morning power outage that left most the five-star resort without power all day Sunday. MGM Mirage officials do not expect the resort to begin reopening until today, and possibly later.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 workers were still on site Monday morning, mainly helping guests check out, serving them buffet food, providing security and helping to power down the entire property, said MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman.

He said the number of employees still working would gradually decrease throughout the day as guests were checked out and relocated to other properties.

By the end of the day, Feldman said he expected only security officers and company engineers would still be working, none of whom are members of the Culinary union.

Other workers, the bulk of the total workforce of 8,000, will be called back to work gradually as power is restored piecemeal to the property and it is ultimately reopened, he said.

Idled workers will not be paid although their benefits will be protected in full, Feldman said.

Feldman said the company is hopeful it can start calling employees back to work today, but he said there are no guarantees and the hotel-casino's operations are hostage to the massive project of replacing all the electrical cables delivering power to the property.

Workers are being asked to contact their supervisors for information about being called back to work.