Culinary Union Thanks Nevada Governor After He Condemns Las Vegas Mayor's 'Outrageous' Comments

The Culinary Union has thanked Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak for his response to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman's "outrageous" comments on reopening the local economy, in light of the threat the novel coronavirus poses to frontline workers.

Sharing a clip of a CNN interview with Gov. Sisolak in which he said he would do everything he could to prevent more of its members dying from COVID-19, the union thanked the state leader and said its members were "not expendable."

Reacting to Mayor Goodman's claim that she offered Las Vegas up as a "control group" for a study on the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Sisolak told CNN: "I will not allow the citizens of Nevada, our Nevadans to be used as a control group, placebo, whatever she wants to call that.

"Our largest trade union on the Strip, Culinary Union 226, lost 11 members. They've lost 11 members to COVID-19 already, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they don't lose 11 more."

In a statement on Wednesday, Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said she did not want workers to be "part of an experiment" when they returned to work.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman speaks at an announcement at the Fremont Street Experience on June 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sam Wasson/Getty Images

She also said workplaces could not be a COVID-19 "Petri dish" when Las Vegas did eventually reopen for business.

"In Las Vegas, we've had 11 Culinary Union members die because of COVID-19. The mayor's statements are outrageous considering essential frontline workers have been dealing with the consequences of this crisis firsthand," the union leader said.

"Health and safety is our priority—workers and guests have to be safe. We want people back to work, but it has to be safe and secure and we don't want workers to be part of an experiment. Workplaces need to be safe and healthy—not a Petri dish."

Argüello-Kline also called on the mayor to encourage casino companies to "pay their workers during the entire closure" of the Las Vegas Strip, adding that it supported Gov. Sisolak's coronavirus plan.

"The Culinary Union is majority women and people of color, and we are not expendable," Argüello-Kline said. "Workers will be the reason we get through this pandemic and workers have to be protected. We demand it."

Newsweek has contacted Mayor Goodman's office for comment and will update this article with any response.

The Culinary Union, representing 60,000 workers in Nevada, slammed the Las Vegas mayor's remarks on reopening the city after she made a viral appearance on CNN last night.

Speaking to Anderson Cooper 360 on Wednesday, Goodman said she would "love everything open" so that people in the city could "go back to work." She also said she wanted to "get our people back to work" in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, claiming that the city was "ready to get back in business."

CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Goodman if she did not think social distancing measures had worked in Nevada, given its number of deaths in comparison with other states.

"How do you know until we have a control group?" she replied. "We offered to be a control group."

"You're offering the citizen of Las Vegas to be a control group to see if you're theory on social distancing does or doesn't work?" a seemingly stunned Cooper asked.

The mayor said she had "offered to be a control group" but was told by a statistician that it would not be possible.

"I know when you have a disease, you have the placebo... and then you get those that actually get the shot," Goodman said. "We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against."

When asked whether she would be on the casino floors with workers at risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, the mayor replied: "What is the purpose of that?"

At the time of writing, Nevada has been hit by more than 3,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 163 related deaths.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

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Mask and glove usage

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