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Mohegan Sun to lay off undetermined number of employees at end of September

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Mohegan — Furloughed Mohegan Sun employees learned Thursday that those who are not called back to work by the end of next month will be laid off.

The number of employees who will lose their jobs is undetermined, Jeff Hamilton, Mohegan Sun’s president and general manager, wrote in a text message in which he indicated the casino still is calling back employees “and putting others into open positions.”

Mohegan Sun furloughed virtually its entire workforce when it was forced to close in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since partially reopening June 1, it has called back 3,828 employees, or about 75% of the total furloughed, Hamilton said.

“As a result of the impact of COVID-19, effective September 30th, 2020 Mohegan Sun will conclude our furlough program that has been in place since March 2020,” he said in a statement. “This will reduce our workforce for team members who have not been called back to work prior to the end of September. We are working with affected team members to find new positions and are offering retraining in areas of demand such as table games.”

“This difficult decision came after careful consideration and was driven by the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic, including reduced capacity and the inability to open all of the property amenities,” he said.

Mohegan Sun reported a month ago that its June gaming revenues were surprisingly robust while nongaming revenues had diminished. Mohegan Sun Arena, which has hosted a pantheon of big-name entertainers as well as the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, has remained closed, as has the Earth Expo Center, the poker room, the buffet and other areas.

Hamilton, in a YouTube video prepared for employees, says many of the things that “drive people to the property” will not open in the foreseeable future because of the pandemic. He acknowledges that when the casino shut down, he said no employees would lose their jobs.

“I thought the impact on the business would be minimal,” he says. “When we closed, I thought we would reopen in a week or two.” But, he says, the shutdown stretched on through the spring, and the casino ended up being closed for 76 days.

“We’ve gotten to a point where we can’t reasonably say to all of our team members that you’re going to return to work soon and in some cases, if ever,” Hamilton says in the video. “Some aspects of the business are just changing based upon this pandemic. ... My hope is that we get to a point where Mohegan Sun looks more like it did in January of this year ... but there’s so much uncertainty.”

Hamilton tells furloughed employees a lot of jobs are available at the casino and that they should pursue them over the next several weeks. Employees who return to new jobs at the casino over the next several months will be considered reinstated as opposed to rehired, he says.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

 

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