MGM Springfield lays off 1,000 employees

Number of workers cut in half, revenue down significantly

MGM SPRINGFIELD is laying off 1,000 already furloughed employees as part of nationwide cuts by its parent company that resulted in 18,000 total layoffs on Friday.

The workers have been on a temporary furlough that started in March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced casinos to shut down.

“While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and have returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry – and country – continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity,” wrote MGM CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle in a letter to employees.

The casino was shuttered from March until July, when it reopened with 700 hundred employees. Another 100 workers have been added since then.

The 2-year old casino had 2,000 employees in December, according to company data. MGM had initially told the state’s Gaming Commission that it would have 3,000 people on payroll.

The hotel for the casino remains closed, according to the company.

“Due to the mandated capacity restrictions and business demand, many of our amenities and venues remain closed for the time being. With these positions currently unavailable, it has not been possible to bring back all of our team members,” said Chris Kelley, president and chief operating officer at MGM Springfield in a letter to workers.

State rules intended to stem the spread of the virus have limited events and game availability that are usually big money makers.

The employees have been furloughed without pay since April. Friday is the legal deadline imposed by the federal WARN Act that requires furloughed employees to be updated on their positions or be formally laid off from their jobs.

A spokeswoman for the company said that the affected workers will still be on a call list in the event the economic situation improves. If they’re hired back before the end of the year, they can retain seniority and reclaim their former positions. Their health insurance benefits have been extended through Sept. 30.

Meet the Author

Sarah Betancourt

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

The resort and casino are currently operating at about one-third of normal capacity, as tourism and gambling industries continue to be hit hard by the virus.

The gross gambling receipts for the casino were $10.7 million from July 10, when the casino reopened, to July 31. That figure was over $21 million in February 2020, before Gov. Charlie Baker began closing businesses.