Station Casinos to Reopen in Phases, ‘Significant’ Layoffs Planned

Posted on: May 2, 2020, 05:39h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2020, 11:56h.

Station Casinos will resume operations gradually, as the company told employees Friday to expect an unspecified number of layoffs, given the impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

Station Casinos Layoffs
Station Casinos CEO and Chairman Frank Fertitta III Friday announced a staggered reopening plan and expected layoffs at the company. (Image: 247 Sports)

The casino giant said it will have “meaningful staffing level reductions” at its Nevada venues that will reopen in the first phase of resumed operations. There will also be staff cuts at its corporate office, as well as “significant reductions” at resort casinos that will reopen later.

It appears the earliest the first phase of layoffs could take place is later this month. News of the staff cuts and reopening plan was reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other local media, based on a letter Station Casinos management sent to its workers Friday.

The exact number of Station’s approximately 14,000 workers to be let go remained unknown Saturday. But the reopening plan will be done “in phases,” the letter said.

Boulder Station, Green Valley Ranch Resort, Palace Station, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe, Sunset Station, as well as the Wildfire division, are among those that will reopen in the first phase, the Review-Journal said.

In a later phase, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Texas Station, and The Palms are expected to reopen. They will resume operations based on unspecified business conditions “in a post-COVID-19 world,” the report adds.

The Las Vegas Sun further reported that Station management did not explain why the four venues were chosen to remain shuttered for a longer time than the other properties.

“We have tried to retain our entire team. But in the face of this continued uncertainty we can no longer do so,” CEO and Chairman Frank Fertitta III said in the letter sent to workers.

The letter also reveals employees who will be kept on will get their regular pay and benefits through at least the end of this month. Full-time workers who are laid off will be paid through May 16. Station will also extend their health insurance through Sept. 30.

Nevada Yet to Specify Reopening Date for Casinos

Station and all other Nevada casino companies are still awaiting the go-ahead to reopen from Gov. Steve Sisolak. Nevada gaming properties will not be among the first groups of non-essential businesses to reopen in the state, Sisolak announced this week.

It appears the Nevada Gaming Control Board will decide the exact reopening date for casinos. They will likely reopen with extensive health and safety precautions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Nevada casinos were ordered to close on March 17. The absolute earliest any could reopen is mid-May.

When we are permitted to reopen, we don’t know what business will look like, other than knowing that business levels will be lower as a result of this unprecedented crisis,” Fertitta said in the letter to workers.

“This has been the most challenging and painful situation in our company’s history,” Fertitta added. “We are hopeful, though, that Las Vegas will rebound swiftly and allow us to rehire many of our valued team members when we emerge on the other side of this crisis.”

Culinary Union Repeats Demand for Immediate Bargaining

Well before the pandemic hit, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 was in a labor dispute with Station Casinos. In response to the company’s latest letter, Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, released a statement saying:

The Culinary and Bartenders Unions have sent a letter demanding immediate bargaining for thousands of workers that we represent. The Culinary and Bartenders Unions will fight to ensure all workers are retained and do not have to reapply for their jobs, that their seniority remains intact, and that all workers are offered extended recall rights when the casinos reopen.”

She adds the unions will monitor the layoffs at Station Casinos “closely, and will continue fighting to ensure workers are treated fairly.”

Station Casinos’ competitor, MGM Resorts International, announced this week it has consolidated top management at its properties Friday.

Meanwhile, laid-off casino workers and other unemployed Nevada residents continue to wait for the payment of unemployment benefits by the state. Many are heading to food distribution sites run by charities to get enough basic food to feed their families for a week.