Mashantucket — Foxwoods Resort Casino has notified the union for members of its engineering department that it intends to lay off 77 department members, according to employees who asked to remain anonymous.
The casino has asked for volunteers willing to accept a severance package before imposing layoffs based on seniority, an employee in the engineering department said Wednesday. Members of the department are represented by Local 30 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Foxwoods executives did not respond directly to emails seeking comment on the impending layoffs in the engineering department or casino layoffs in general. Dale Wolbrink, Foxwoods' public relations manager, issued a statement:
"We are continuing to evaluate our staffing in order to maintain strong employment levels and to ensure employees are positioned for success, while also balancing cost savings and productivity."
Union officials did not immediately respond to phone calls or emails.
According to the employee in the engineering department, casino officials presented union representatives with a trade-by-trade breakdown of the number of positions the casino intends to eliminate. The engineering department includes plumbers, carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians, landscapers, millwrights, painters, locksmiths and others.
Union members ratified their first contract with Foxwoods management last October, about a year after eligible workers voted to affiliate with Local 30, based in Richmond Hill, N.Y. Foxwoods' engineering department has about 300 employees.
The casino is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
"Once we signed a contract, I knew this was coming," the engineering employee said. "When they hired a new VP, we were told no layoffs at this time. That was a couple of months ago." Foxwoods named Richard Emmons vice president of engineering and projects in April.
The employee said that, among other layoffs, management's outline calls for layoffs of 12 of the department's 26 carpenters; seven of 28 electricians; 14 of 23 plumbers; seven of 11 locksmiths; and nine central plant workers. He said none of the department's 28 general mechanics are being let go.
"Honestly, we don't need 26 carpenters," he said.