Mashantucket - Foxwoods Resort Casino is seeking to shed 50 table-games dealers, according to the dealers' union.
In a notice to members, Local 2121 of the UAW, which represents some 2,100 dealers, says casino management is offering 10 severance packages for "dual-rates" - dealers who sometimes serve in supervisory roles - and 40 for regular dealers, of which 15 are "enhanced."
The offers provide two weeks' pay for each year of employment up to a maximum of 26 weeks. The enhanced packages also provide an additional amount for the tokes, or tips, dealers regularly earn.
Earlier this year, 15 dealers accepted early-retirement packages after the union filed a grievance in connection with the casino's hiring of 15 Mashantucket Pequot tribal members who'd been trained as dealers. The Mashantuckets own Foxwoods.
"It actually worked out well," said Mary Johnson, the union president. "We had enough people who wanted to go."
Johnson said Tuesday she was hoping to similarly avoid "any involuntary layoffs" in the current downsizing among dealers.
Foxwoods informed all employees Feb. 27 that it was instituting a "reorganization plan" that would result in a workforce reduction. Management did not specify the number of positions it expects to trim or in which departments the cuts will occur. The reorganization is to be completed by April 6.
It comes amid a late stage in the UAW's negotiation of a second contract with the Mashantuckets. The union's first contract with the tribe expired at the end of 2011. Negotiations entered an arbitration phase last spring.
“The end is in sight," Johnson said upon emerging from an arbitration session. She said the union will meet with its membership Saturday to discuss the negotiations and seek direction.
"We haven't had a chance to fully present everything," said Johnson, who's retiring in June. "It's been a long process and everyone has been very patient."
Members will be asked to vote on a number of items to which negotiators have tentatively agreed, she said.
In arbitration, each side submits its "last best offer" to an arbitrator who renders a binding decision. The arbitrator must rule on many individual items, Johnson said.
On its website, Local 2121 urges members to oppose a management plan to reduce the ratio of full-time dealers to part-time dealers, a move that would result in fewer full-time jobs, according to Johnson. Such ratios are specified in the union's contract.
Johnson said pay increases remain a major issue in the negotiations, as do the sharing of health care costs and the union's call for better air quality in the casino's table-games areas.