Published Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 | 6:22 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 | 2:14 p.m.
D. Taylor, Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer and Local 226's top official, said about 4:30 p.m. Friday that the union was setting up a phone bank to call every one of its 1,200 members who work at the Monte Carlo.
The phone bank planned to begin calling the Monte Carlo maids, food-service workers and porters late this afternoon and early this evening, advising them about a telephone hotline set up by property owner MGM Mirage that will provide workers with up-to-date information about work schedules.
Taylor said the property's bellmen, for example, are being called in to work this evening to accompany the hotel's guests to their rooms so that they may retrieve their luggage and other belongings before taking them to another MGM Mirage hotel.
Taylor said the company has been closely coordinating its plans with the union, but does not yet know when the property will reopen and most workers will return to work.
That's why the Culinary is having its phone bank call its Monte Carlo members, to let them know that their union is closely monitoring the aftermath of the fire and its impact on workers.
"If it's closed two or three days, that's one thing," said Taylor, in an in-person interview with the Sun in his Commerce Street offices at Culinary headquarters. "But if it's two to three weeks, that's another thing."
If the property – or part of the property – remains closed for an extended period, Taylor said the union will try to arrange for expedited unemployment benefits and other assistance for affected workers.
He also said the union would work with MGM Mirage officials to place as many affected workers as possible in open jobs at other company properties if a closure is extended.
Taylor said of the fire: "It's horrible. There were at least 13 people who suffered from smoke inhalation. But thank God there were no fatalities, at least not yet. It could have been much, much worse."