‘We Are Not an Experiment.’ Las Vegas Hospitality Employees Reflect on Life During Layoffs Industry workers express concerns over finances, health, and the future of the city ahead of resorts reopening

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Yolanda Scott, who has been a server at Treasure Island for 27 years, has been calling the unemployment number “500 times a day” with no luck.

“It gets a little scary because we haven’t received any money from Mr. Ruffin to help us,” says Scott, referring to Phil Ruffin, the owner of Treasure Island. Ruffin has a net worth of $3.1 billion and also owns Circus Circus and 50 percent of Trump International Las Vegas.

Billionaires like Ruffin have drawn criticism from Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno.

“Many gaming corporations are owned by straight-up billionaires, like Phil Ruffin at Treasure Island, Alex Meruelo at the Sahara, and David Siegel at Westgate,” says Bethany Khan, director of communications and digital strategy for the culinary union. “Those are three billionaires who are not paying their workers anything during closure and have left them to figure out food banks and fend for themselves. It’s shameful that they abandoned their workers during a global crisis.

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