Dealers at Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino were furloughed along with thousands of other venue workers as the property shut down for at least two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. Management did not sit down with the unionized workers about the closure.
The dealers are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2121. The union’s leadership was hoping casino management would have negotiated with the dealers over paid leave.
Foxwoods said it would not offer paid leave for its approximately 5,000 employees. An estimated 1,200 workers are members of the union.
Our local is very disappointed Foxwoods refused to negotiate paid leave for our members in the week prior to announcing the inevitable shutdown,” John Delmonte, Local 2121’s president, said in a statement quoted by The Day newspaper. “We were proactive in seeking their assistance early on, and they instead chose to be reactive.”
“The Local was given 24 hours’ notice to try and notify all of our 1,200 workers that they would be furloughed for two weeks and forced to collect unemployment if they wanted minimum compensation,” Delmonte was additionally quoted.
“This has caused our members and the other 4,000 workers at Foxwoods a great hardship, as well as overloading our state’s unemployment system. We expected better than that.”
Foxwoods Management Wants Casino to Remain ‘Nimble’
John James, Foxwoods’ President and CEO, told The Day, “We are making business decisions based on a variety of factors, including the safety of our team members and guests, as well as the requirements and/or guidance of executive orders/requests from the Governor and other state leaders.
We recognize and respect our duty to bargain and intend to continue that obligation as things progress,” James added in a statement to The Day. “However, we also have to be nimble as things develop rapidly.”
“We value and respect all of our team members and want to do what is best for them and the business, such that we can all come out of this in a manner that allows us to recover.”
Local 2121’s last contract expired last December. The details of the agreement are in place until the union and management agree to a new contact, the report said.
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were closed to the public Tuesday night. They are tribal casinos.
“During our temporary closure amidst the unprecedented global health crisis, almost all of our team members have been placed on furlough,” Jeff Hamilton, Mohegan Sun’s President and General Manager, said in a statement quoted by The Day. “During this period, team members will continue to receive health benefits, access to key services, and regular communication remains in effect as well.”
“The top priority of our leadership team is to return all affected team members upon a reopen, at which point we have the ultimate confidence we’ll return as strong as ever,” Hamilton added.
Other casinos elsewhere in southern New England remain closed, too. Rhode Island’s Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton are shuttered at through at least March 27.
Three Bay State Casinos Closed
Massachusetts’ Encore Boston Harbor is expected to continue to pay its employees during its 30-day closure. The property is owned by Wynn Resorts, which has announced its intention to pay its employees during the closure. Two other Massachusetts casinos are also closed.