Layoffs likely as Foxwoods cuts hours at Rainmaker casino area

Mashantucket — In a move expected to result in layoffs, Foxwoods Resort Casino will curtail weekday hours on a portion of its gaming floor, the casino’s chief executive confirmed Wednesday.

“As the competitive landscape of the gaming industry continues to change, Foxwoods Resort Casino is focused on operational efficiencies at all levels in order to achieve success in today’s environment and to sustain that success well into the future,” Scott Butera said in a statement. “The modification to the hours of operation of a small portion of our gaming floor is a function of our ongoing effort to improve operational efficiency during lower-volume periods.”

Foxwoods plans to shut down slot machines and some table games in the Rainmaker Casino area from 4 a.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Friday, starting June 9, according to a memo dated Monday and distributed to some employees. Table games in the areas designated as “Pits 3 and 4” will be affected, the memo said. Games in those areas include craps, roulette and blackjack.

“We will make staffing changes across all levels of employment, in both our management and hourly Team Member ranks,” Dale Merrill, Foxwoods’ vice president of human resources and administration, said in the memo.

“It will be necessary to the health of the organization to review and adjust our staffing levels based on a solid strategic plan with a goal of supporting strong employment levels for years to come,” Butera said. “We will work our way through these difficult times and come out of it stronger …”

Foxwoods’ employees comprise “one of the largest work forces in the state and the region,” he noted.

Foxwoods provided no specifics about the number of jobs it will seek to eliminate.

Layoffs presumably would affect unionized beverage servers and table-games dealers as well as nonunion employees. As of late Wednesday afternoon, the dealers’ union, Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers, had not been notified of any planned staff reductions, Billy Shea, president of the local, said.

Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents Foxwoods’ beverage servers, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Rainmaker Casino is one of six casinos at Foxwoods, which operated a total of 5,800 slot machines in March. The Rainmaker was home to more than 800 slots at one time.

At the end of last year, Foxwoods’ workforce comprised the equivalent of 5,990 full-time employees, according to the casino’s quarterly report. According to an annual report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, Foxwoods then had about 7,600 full- and part-time employees.

Foxwoods laid off about 120 dealers earlier this year.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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