Eleven members of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues, including Rep. Karen Shepherd, D-Utah, have asked Barbra Streisand, while Streisand is in Las Vegas for New Year's concerts at the MGM Grand Hotel, to meet with cocktail waitresses who claim they were subjected to "offensive practices" by the hotel's chief executive officer.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., wrote the letter to Streisand, with 10 colleagues signing their names, after hearing the waitresses' complaints - largely that they were made to dress as "sexual objects." Several members declined to sign the letter.The criticism is aimed at Bob Maxey, chief executive officer of the MGM - which opened Dec. 18 as the world's largest hotel, casino and theme park - but dates to his tenure as general manager of the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He left Rio Suites more than two years ago.

There, the waitresses allege, and Eshoo wrote, "Maxey . . . (was) one of the individuals who promoted the practices of the past, such as issuing cocktail waitresses just one uniform and refusing to issue a larger uniform (even if they become pregnant) unless they have breast enlargements. Similarly, cocktail waitresses had only 30 days after giving birth to fit back into their old uniforms or lose their jobs."

MGM Grand Hotel spokesman Mark Brown said Wednesday, "The charges are completely erroneous. Mr. Maxey never had such a policy, never initiated such a policy, nor does such a policy at the MGM exist today."

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Moreover, Brown said the letter to Streisand, who is an advocate of women's issues, must be seen in the light of a labor dispute that involves cocktail waitresses.

"What they have undertaken over the past three or four months is a campaign of corporate terrorism and harassment of the MGM and Bob Maxey," Brown said of the union local. The pressure on Streisand is but the latest in a series of assaults, he said.

Streisand's appearance at the hotel has been highly publicized. Dick Guttman, her agent, said in Beverly Hills that Streisand "will be in communication with (the congresswomen) to work with them on the matter."

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.

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