Workers At AC Casinos Forced Into Unpaid Break After Sandy Washed Away Revenue Opportunities
Trump Also Reducing Hours And Barring Use Of Vacation Time For Others
Hurricane Sandy may be nothing more than a slight breeze somewhere in the world right now, but it’s still wreaking havoc on those who first endured its wrath in late October. The once powerful storm is feeding off of the darkening business climate in one of America’s poverty-ridden cities in order to maintain its destructive power.
Workers at two casinos in New Jersey’s Atlantic City, an economically depressed area even before “Frankenstorm” ever made landfall, have been told to sacrifice in order to offset the gambling revenue the properties missed out on, The Press of Atlantic City reported Monday.
Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc. reportedly is forcing its salaried employees to take a week off without pay by Dec. 2. Hourly-wage earners are not permitted to use their paid-vacation time to cover the hours they missed during the shutdown.
According to the Associated Press, the company said the decision, which also includes trimming schedules for hourly workers, will save it between $10 million and $12 million.
Sandy forced a rare closing of all 12 casinos in Atlantic City. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a mandatory evacuation order for the area which went into effect on Sunday, Oct. 28. Casinos were allowed to reopen on Friday, Nov. 2.
The firm, which operates two casinos in Atlantic City, was financially the most affected by the storm, according to data released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Both the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza experienced a more than 30-percent drop in gambling revenue compared to October 2011. Altogether, Atlantic City casinos dropped nearly 20 percent.
Prior to closing, Trump Entertainment had about $25 million in casino win for Oct. 2012.
The Press of Atlantic City reported that Trump Entertainment told its employees in a Nov. 5 memo that the move was necessary in order to stay in business.
“We recognize the hardship you and your family are already enduring, however, in order to keep the properties open through the upcoming weeks, our only alternative is to implement a more aggressive savings plan,” Bob Griffin, Trump Entertainment’s CEO, wrote to employees.
In 2010, the company filed for corporate bankruptcy for a third time. After the moves, founder and former chairman Donald Trump sat with a small percentage of the business.
Atlantic City has won about $2.65 billion from gamblers so far this year, of which about 13 percent has gone to Trump Entertainment.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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