Resorts World Casino shut the doors to its Aqueduct Buffet on Monday, and in turn on about 175 employees.
“I thought it was a drastic move, certainly one that could be reconsidered down the line,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.
The buffet closed on Jan. 6 after “trying to make it work for two years, and just couldn’t,” said a spokesperson for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (HTC).
“We have made the difficult decision to close the Aqueduct Buffet, which never caught on with our customers and has consistently lost money,” said Ed Farrell, Resorts World president. “We sincerely regret the impact this closure has on the buffet’s employees and are working closely with the HTC to ease this transition.”
The HTC is in contract with Resorts World and has begun helping the laid-off employees find new work.
In the interim, the buffet workers will receive up to five weeks severance pay, depending on how long they were employed at the casino and what job they did. They will also get 120 days of extended family medical coverage and preferential hiring in other Resorts World departments, according to the spokesperson.
The employees did not receive notice the buffet was closing, but the spokesperson said the “federal WARN notice,” the worker adjustment and retraining notification act, does not apply in this situation. The buffet had to have more than a third of Resorts World employees to receive forewarning.
The HTC will be meeting with the laid-off workers in groups and individually if needed, and Addabbo said he will be meeting with both the HTC and Farrell.
The state senator said if he had known the buffet were suffering, he would have liked to look at alternatives to closing it entirely.
“We see Resorts World as a job generator,” he said. “It has great potential. If it’s going to reach that maximum potential in creating jobs, this is not the way to go.”