Around 175 employees at Resorts World Casino in New York City have been laid off. The firings come just three months after a union representing the employees negotiated a big pay raise.
The casino is owned by a Malaysian conglomerate called the Genting Group. A spokesperson from the group says the firings are not due to the pay increase given to the employees, but rather because the buffet had simply stopped being a profitable part of the business.
“If we allowed it to remain open, it would have ultimately had a negative impact,” the spokesperson said. “If that’s consistently losing money then it becomes a drain on other parts of the business, and then it becomes harder to sustain a business that you certainly want and the community wants to survive.”
The buffet was one of several restaurants at the casino. While Genting says they needed to close the buffet because it was draining money from the rest of the business, union representatives and a number of politicians are criticizing the group’s decision. They note that the casino made $696.5 million in revenues last year and is the nation’s highest grossing slot parlor. They believe the business easily could have afforded to keep the buffet open, thereby keeping the 175 laid off workers employed.
“I’m very upset about this,” said John Turchiano, spokesman for the New York Hotel Trades Council union. “We are doing everything possible to assist these workers right now.”
Turchiano said the now-jobless workers will be given priority when applying for any open positions at the casino. Still, the employees can’t help but feel they were fleeced by their employer.
“Everything is done,” said Mariano Cano, 45, a former server at the buffet. “They just threw us out like dogs. They just gave us a couple of dollars to shut up, and that’s it."