Mohegan Sun to lay off 355 workers

By Everton Bailey Jr.
Hartford, Connecticut (AP) September 2010

The Mohegan Sun Casino plans to cut 355 jobs as part of a downsizing its top executive said was prompted by declining revenue due to the recession.

Mitchell Etess, Mohegan Sun’s president and CEO, said 120 other workers will be reassigned under the plan he unveiled last week. He said the casino decided to cut jobs after slots revenue fell $39 million in the last year. During the fiscal year that ended in September 2009, Mohegan Sun reported gross slot revenue of about $780 million, which was down nearly 9 percent from the prior year. “We’ve been patient over the last two years in attempting to reduce our labor force by attrition, waiting for the economy to recover and for our business revenues to increase,” he said last week. “Unfortunately we could no longer take that patient approach.”

Etess said the Mohegan Tribal Council, the governing body that runs the casino, approved the layoffs after weeks of discussions. All affected employees were being notified by last week.

He said the bulk of the layoffs were of workers in the casino’s food and beverage services, but pointed out that employees up to company vice presidents were being let go. Etess also said advancements in technology eliminated the need for some supervisor jobs.

In addition to the layoff, Etess said the casino plans to close one of its two buffet restaurants and use more third-party operators for its eateries.

Mohegan Sun, one of the country’s largest tribal casinos, employs more than 9,000 people and had to halt plans to continue a major expansion project in 2008.

Etess said the casino has also improved employee benefits, including a 3 percent raise for workers, which he says will take effect next year.

“This has obviously been a very difficult decision for us, but we hope to move forward with the remaining employees that we have,” he said.




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