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MGM to cut 18,000 workers who were previously furloughed

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MGM Resorts International, the Las Vegas-based casino operator, will layoff 18,000 furloughed workers. MGM's CEO Bill Hornbuckle blamed the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic for the layoffs, which represent about one-quarter of the company's pre-pandemic workforce. 

MGM said federal law requires companies to provide a date of separation for furloughed workers who haven't been called back after six months. That date is August 31 for thousands of workers that MGM said it hasn't yet been able to bring back to their jobs.

"It's crucial that workers who have helped build Nevada into the tourism and entertainment capital of the world not be left behind when the economy recovers," Bethany Khan, a spokeswoman for the Culinary Union, said in a statement. "Workers should have the Right to Return when business resumes and the Culinary Union and a coalition of labor unions are fighting for an ordinance to be placed on the agenda at the Clark County Commission that would protect all workers non-union and union."

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MGM, the owner of casinos including the Bellagio and the MGM Grand, had furloughed almost all its U.S. workers when the pandemic shuttered the economy in March. But many travel and entertainment companies continue to struggle with consumer demand amid continuing COVID-19 outbreaks. American Airlines and Delta Airlines have recently said they will layoff or furlough more than 20,000 workers. 

"While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and have returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry — and country — continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity," Hornbuckle said in a letter to employees provided to CBS MoneyWatch. 

The 18,000 employees who are being cut will continue to receive health care benefits through September 30. The company said it also could potentially recall them to work at a future date. For instance, MGM hasn't yet reopened two properties, the Park MGM in Las Vegas and the MGM Empire City in New York, but could recall thousands of workers once those resume operations. 

"Employees who return to work by December 31, 2021 will retain their seniority and immediately resume their benefits," Hornbuckle said.

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