Workers worried that more position cuts could be forthcoming
(CHICAGO) – The Majestic Star Casino & Hotel in Gary, Indiana have laid off as many as 100 employees without advance notice to workers. Laid off employees worked in departments throughout the casino, and some had worked at Majestic Star for as long as sixteen years.
While the casino told employees the layoffs were meant to improve efficiencies due to a change in guest volumes, admissions at Majestic Star over the past 12 months are actually up slightly from the year before. Additionally, the Majestic Star Casino took in more than $200 million in gross receipts over the past year, making it the seventh highest grossing casino in Indiana.
Casinos like Majestic Star were approved by political leaders based on the promise they would bring stable jobs to hard-hit areas, such as Northwest Indiana. However, the layoffs come just before the holidays and at a particularly difficult time for casino workers and their families.
“I have bills to pay and a life to live. I was not prepared for this,” said Alisha Coleman who worked as a cook at Majestic Star for 12 years. “I don’t want to have to move in with my kids.”
Collective bargaining agreements covering around 1000 Northwest Indiana casino workers have recently expired. Contracts expired on October 31, 2012, around the time the firings began. Employees remain worried that more position cuts could be forthcoming.
The Majestic Star is controlled by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minnesota-based investment firm that took over the casino in late 2011.
“These out of state owners who control billions are coming to Indiana and taking away our jobs,” added Coleman. “Wayzata Investment Partners are taking unfair advantage of the economy.”
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.