|By Donald Wittkowski, The Press of
Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 24, 2011--ATLANTIC CITY -- Trump Marina Hotel Casino has sent out a memo warning its employees that they may lose their jobs when a new owner takes over the property in May.
The casino is being sold for $38 million to Landry's Inc., a Houston-based gaming, restaurant and entertainment conglomerate that plans to rebrand Trump Marina as a Golden Nugget. Landry's owns the Golden Nugget casino hotels in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev.
Golden Nugget characterized Trump Marina's memo as a "mere formality" that must be done as part of the sale. The company said Wednesday that it is committed to keeping most of Trump Marina's workers.
"We anticipate hiring the majority of all existing Trump Marina employees. Moreover, all union contracts will remain in effect and all hired employees will keep their tenure," said Amy Chasey, vice president of marketing and public relations for Golden Nugget.
Trump Marina told employees in the memo that Landry's is expected to take control May 25, pending regulatory approval by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. At that time, Trump Marina Associates will no longer operate the property and "substantially all" of the employees will be terminated by Trump Marina.
"As a result, your employment with Trump Marina Associates is expected to permanently cease on or about May 25, 2011," the memo says. "Landry's is expected to make offers of employment to a significant number of Trump Marina Associates' employees."
Terms of the sale call for Landry's to assume Trump Marina's union contracts. In the memo, Trump Marina noted that job offers made to union members will be based on the terms of the collective bargaining agreements, including seniority rights.
Trump Marina has about 1,500 employees, the smallest work force among Atlantic City's 11 casino hotels. The notification is being made under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give at least 60 days advance notice of mass layoffs or business closings.
"It's purely administrative," Chasey said. "Trump has to let their employees know that they're not going to be their employees anymore."
Golden Nugget plans to give employees a letter today that explains the transition to new ownership. Chasey said workers will get a new benefits package that is similar to what they have been receiving as Trump Marina employees.
"We're a large company," she said of the Landry's parent corporation. "We have all of the regular health and dental benefits. They will be made available to the employees."
Trump Marina employees will not go through the same process as their counterparts at Resorts Casino Hotel did when that casino was sold in December. All of the Resorts employees were laid off when the sale was completed and then had to reapply for their jobs. Resorts' new owner rehired most of the employees at lower salaries to reduce the labor costs at the financially troubled casino.
"We're not doing what Resorts did," Chasey said. "We understand that the employees are important. We need employees to operate the business. We are going to rehire the vast majority of the employees."
When Trump Marina's sale was announced in February, Landry's said then that it would expand the casino's work force to staff the new restaurants and other attractions the company is planning. It has already begun placing employment ads.
"In the long run, we are going to be hiring more employees. We are going to be adding to the work force," Chasey said.
Landry's intends to spend $150 million to rebrand the aging Trump Marina into a Golden Nugget. Renovation plans include new restaurants, bars, upscale pools, a lavish spa, a poker room and a new facade to replace the casino hotel's outdated exterior.
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