Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

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I have mentioned before that Nevada's labor laws protect the employers, not the employees. This last weekend I had further evidence of this. I suspect that casinos are out front in the list of those that take advantage.

Mary's bf Edward finally quit his job at the Palms, where they were overworking him on a low salary, to work at Treasure Island as a chef. The head chef talked to Edward before he started work and Edward said he needed to have two days off every week. The head chef said fine. Edward said he doesn't mind occasional overtime but did not want long shifts as a rule. The head chef said no problem, all will be well.

Edward had been scheduled for a twelve noon to ten pm shift, as I recall, for his first day. His supervisor called to ask if he could come in early instead and Edward said yes, and came in at ten. He worked until ten-thirty that night, twelve and a half hours. He looked at the upcoming schedule and saw that he was scheduled for 12-hour days for the next ten days, no breaks. He complained to his supervisor. She just shrugged and said "that's the schedule".

He went to the head chef, had a time getting to see him, left messages. When he finally did respond and Edward said this wasn't what I agreed to, the chef said he didn't care, that was the schedule.

Edward was hired on salary and because union rules do not apply to banquet chefs (which he was) there was no recourse. He was making, at this rate, a little over six dollars an hour.

He told Mary he would put in a week and see if things got better. Mary said "A week??" and said he should act now, while it is all fresh. So he went back, confronted the supervisor again, and when she would not budge he quit. He found hourly work at another casino and probably won't fall for the salary thing again, at least not in Vegas.

When Mary worked at a local casino a few years ago and called the state labor board to complain that she worked eight-hour days without a break, the woman said "Can you go to the bathroom?". Mary said "yes, sometimes." and the woman said, "That's a break." She called again later to say she was pregnant and her employer was forcing her to use chlorine to clean floors as part of her waitress job and she felt it was not safe for her baby. They didn't give a shit.

There are tons of stories like these. You would not guess, looking at these glitzy no-holds-barred casinos, that the employees work for shit wages and are overworked to boot. Tips don't solve the problem. Nor should they be expected to.

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