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MGM Springfield Warns Almost 1,900 Layoffs Possible Amid Pandemic

The MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Republican / Masslive.com/photos
The MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The operators of MGM Springfield are warning Massachusetts labor officials they may have to layoff up to almost 1,900 employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

MGM Springfield has about 2,000 workers — and according to a filing with the state, layoffs could hit at the end of August.

Most employees have been furloughed, with health benefits, since gambling regulators shut down Massachusetts casinos in mid-March.

The company notified the state under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN Act. It requires businesses with at least 100 full-time employees that are planning to lay off 50 people at a location to give at least 60 days' notice before the employer does so. 

When asked at a Monday press conference about potential workforce reductions, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno didn't directly answer the question.

"What this COVID-19, coronavirus, has done is it has changed the landscape of the workforce," Sarno said.  "Whether private or governmental, many adjustments are being temporarily made."

Springfield's Chief Development Director Tim Sheehan focused instead on protocols MGM is looking at prior to reopening.

"They're bringing the science to the table," Sheehan said. "They actually have epidemiogolgists on their task force advising them as to what modifications they're going to need to make to their floor in order to make it an effective reopening."

In a statement, MGM said it's continually working to reopen its properties, and bring back as many employees as possible when it's safe to do so.

"The COVID-19 pandemic represents, without a doubt, the greatest challenge ever faced by our company and industry," the statement said. "The past month and a half has required incredibly painful decisions as we’ve focused on using our resources to best support our employees, our communities and our company’s long-term health."

The statement continued to say MGM now believes "it may take some time for business to return to pre-pandemic levels."

Across the company, MGM said it currently has 63,000 workers on furlough.

Employees were notified last week about the extension of health benefits through August, and a potential workforce reduction, in a letter from Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle. He wrote that limited domestic and international travel could impact employment and business. 

"Based on the current situation, we now believe that some of our colleagues may not return to work this year," Hornbuckle wrote. "And, given the continued uncertainty facing our industry, we simply don’t know just how many employees will return to work within the coming months."

Casinos in Massachusetts are closed until at least next Monday, following the latest order by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. 

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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