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How to do Oppo: Sue Lowden's Casinos

I’ve decided I can’t resist printing some of the yummy goodness coming out of the Harry Reid press office about Sue Lowden. Not so much for it’s value as a campaign tool against her, but rather as an example of how opposition research, or “oppo,” should be done. Just think all the days that went into it. Brings a tear to the old Monger’s eye, it does…

Lowden’s Casinos A Dangerous Place to Work

Cited 221 Times by OSHA for Safety, Health Violations, Some Involving Exposure to “Bloodborne Pathogens”

LAS VEGAS – As a casino executive, Sue Lowden has proven that she will do anything to make a buck. As previously reported, she broke the law to deny her employees health insurance and even gave her CEO husband six-figure bonuses while slashing the jobs of hundreds of her workers.

Now, we learn that under Sue Lowden, casinos owned by Archon Corporation were dangerous places to work.  In fact, during the years she was a casino executive, the Sahara, Hacienda, Santa Fe and Pioneer Hotels and Casinos were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at least 221 times.

Fifty-two of these violations were classified as serious. Four of the total 221 were repeat violations.

Her casinos were also fined 35 times for workplace safety violations.   Clearly she didn’t learn her lesson because one of these fines cost the company $12,400 for a repeated violation, when she repeatedly failed to keep workplace floors free of nails, splinters, holes, and loose boards at the Hacienda.

Of the other 221 violations, one includes a 2001 violation that resulted in a $1,680 fine after it was found they had violated a requirement that explosion-proof wiring must be used in areas where dangerous quantities of flammable vapors are sprayed.  Another includes a $4,500 fine at Sahara in 1994 for not providing employees medical evaluations following a report of a bloodborne pathogen exposure incident. Yet another in 1992 resulted in a fine at the Santa Fe for failing to label hazardous chemicals.

“It looks like Sue Lowden will stop at nothing to make a buck, even if it means breaking the law and putting her employees’ safety on the line,” said campaign manager Brandon Hall.  “If she isn’t even willing to look out for the people who helped her make her $50 million fortune, how can Nevadans who don’t know her at all believe she’ll actually fight to protect them?”

BACKGROUND

Lowden’s Casinos Cited For Numerous OSHA Violations

Sue Lowden’s Casinos Have Been Cited For 221 Workplace Safety Violations. During the years when Sue Lowden played a role in the management of the Sahara, Hacienda, Santa Fe, and Pioneer Hotels and Casinos, her companies were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at least 221 times, including 52 violations classified as “serious” and 4 repeat violations. [OSHA Inspection Records: Hacienda Hotel and Casino, 1988-1995, Sahara Hotel and Casino, 1988-1995, Santa Fe Hotel and Casino, 1991-2000, and Pioneer Hotel and Casino, 1989-2010]

Sue Lowden’s Casinos Have Been Fined 35 Times For Workplace Safety Violations. During the years when Sue Lowden played a role in the management of the Sahara, Hacienda, Santa Fe, and Pioneer Hotels and Casinos, her companies were fined at least 35 times, including one fine for $12,400 for a repeated violation. . [OSHA Inspection Records: Hacienda Hotel and Casino, 1988-1995, Sahara Hotel and Casino, 1988-1995, Santa Fe Hotel and Casino, 1991-2000, and Pioneer Hotel and Casino, 1989-2010]

February 2001: Pioneer Hotel Was Fined For Improper Wiring Near Flammable Vapors. The Pioneer Hotel was fined $1,680 after an inspection arising from a complaint found that they had violated a requirement that explosion-proof wiring must be used in areas where dangerous quantities of flammable vapors are sprayed. [OSHA Inspection Record, Citations Issued 2/2/2001, OSHA Regulation Definitions –Spray Finishing Using Flammable And Combustible Materials]

June 1995: Hacienda Hotel Was Fined For Repeatedly Failing To Keep Workplace Floors Free Of Nails, Splinters, Holes, And Loose Boards. The Hacienda agreed to pay a $12,400.00 fine for repeatedly violating the requirement that “To facilitate cleaning, every floor, working place, and passageway shall be kept free from protruding nails, splinters, holes, or loose boards.” [OSHA Citation Record 6/13/95; OSHA Regulation Definitions – General Practices]

June 1994: Sahara Hotel Was Fined For Failing To Provide Medical Follow-Up To Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure. The Sahara was fined $4,500 after an inspection arising from a complaint found that they had violated, among others, the requirements that employers must provide medical evaluations and procedures including hepatitis B vaccination at no cost to the employee following a report of a bloodborne pathogen exposure incident. [OSHA Inspection Record, Citations Issued 6/21/94, OSHA Regulation Definitions – Blood-Borne Pathogens]

August 1993: Santa Fe Hotel Was Fined For Failing To Maintain A Clean Workplace. The Santa Fe Hotel was fined $2,500 after an inspection arising from a complaint found that they had violated a requirement that states, “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.” [OSHA Inspection Record, Citations Issued 8/20/1993, OSHA Regulation Definitions –General Requirements]

April 1992: Santa Fe Was Fined For Failing To Label Hazardous Chemicals. The Santa Fe Hotel was fined after an inspection arising from a complaint found that they had violated a requirement that all containers of hazardous chemicals must be properly labeled. [OSHA Inspection Record, Citations Issued 4/17/1992, OSHA Regulation Definitions –Hazard Communication]

Sue Lowden Cut Almost ¼ Of Her Workforce And Ended Employee 401(k) Matching While Her Husband Brought Home A $200,000 Bonus

Las Vegas Sun: “SEC Filing: Sue Lowden Cut Jobs, Got Bonus.” “Republican Sue Lowden’s company gave her husband a $200,000 bonus last year — bringing the couple’s combined paycheck to nearly $1 million — even as it slashed more than 100 jobs and eliminated the employee savings match, according to an annual report.” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/24/2010]

CQ Politics: “Reid Presses Attacks on Lowden’s Jobs Record.” Last week, Reid aides pounced on Archon’s annual financial report that showed the company reduced its employee rolls by nearly a quarter compared with 2008, while Paul Lowden received a $200,000 bonus. Monday, Reid’s campaign publicized records that showed a casino owned by an Archon subsidiary shut its doors in 2004, leaving 50-plus workers out of jobs. Paul Lowden also received a $200,000 bonus that year. [CQ Politics, 3/1/2010]

Lowden Illegally Denied her Employees Health Insurance

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “When Sue Lowden Headed The Santa Fe Hotel-Casino, Management Forced A Group Of Workers To Shift To Part-Time Status And Sign Away Their Health Care Coverage.” In March 2010, the Review-Journal wrote, “When Sue Lowden headed the Santa Fe hotel-casino, management forced a group of workers to shift to part-time status and sign away their health care coverage, said a judge who ruled the company violated fair labor practices. He ordered the Santa Fe to pay two dozen employees almost $188,000 in back wages and benefits and to reinstate three workers who lost their jobs, records show … The complex legal battles between the union and Santa Fe management came after workers from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 1993, voted 300-241 for unionization in a labor board-supervised election, according to published reports. The Lowdens refused to recognize the results and dealt directly with workers in reducing hours and benefits instead of bargaining with union representatives … After the judge’s ruling, the Santa Fe was ordered to post a three-page notice to employees in the hotel-casino, admitting to the labor violations and promising not to repeat them.” [Review-Journal, 3/7/2010]

More finger-licking good examples soon!

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