Panic Buttons for Hotel Housekeepers?

Las Vegas casino-resort operators may have to provide “panic buttons” for housekeepers as they negotiate new union contracts in light of the growing #MeToo movement against workplace sexual misconduct.

According to a Fox News report, MGM Resorts released a statement Wednesday saying it expects to work with the Culinary Union on giving all Las Vegas resort housekeepers access to such alerts in the months to come, noting that “workplace safety is a top priority.”

The union’s secretary-treasurer, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, said she wants the contract to address safety against sexual misconduct on behalf of more than 14,000 housekeepers working on the Vegas Strip.

The union declined to release data on how many housekeepers have faced threatening situations in Las Vegas hotels in recent years. However, court records provide ample evidence of past incidents.

A 22-year-old man was accused in 2016 of sexually assaulting a housekeeper who was cleaning a bathroom at the Boulder Station hotel-casino.

Another incident involved a 19-year-old man who was arrested in 2011 after a 65-year-old housekeeper was punched in the face and sexually assaulted inside a room at Bally’s.

Housekeepers at unionized hotels in New York City have had panic buttons since 2013 — a response to a maid’s high-profile sexual assault accusation against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then-leader of the International Monetary Fund.

In addition to strengthening language against sexual harassment, Argüello-Kline said the union plans to negotiate with companies to protect workers’ existing benefits, increase wages, and protect job security against the increasing adoption of technology at hotel-casinos.