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Horseshoe, VU contractor warn of thousands of temporary job losses
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COVID-19 impact

Horseshoe, VU contractor warn of thousands of temporary job losses

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Horseshoe Casino and Valparaiso University dining contractor warn state of thousands of job losses

Patrons frequent the sports betting kiosks in February at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. The casino warned the state of more than 1,600 furloughs.

Horseshoe Hammond casino and Parkhurst Dining Services, the food service contractor at Valparaiso University, warned the state government of more than 2,000 furloughs, including many in Northwest Indiana.

Northwest Indiana's largest casino, which previously announced the workforce reductions when it was ordered to close as part of Indiana's stay-at-home order in March, sent a Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, saying it had furloughed 1,693 workers on the Lake Michigan lakefront in Hammond. Parkhurst Dining Services told the state it temporarily laid off 365 workers across the state, including at Valparaiso University. 

The food services company temporarily laid off its employees at Franklin College, Hanover College and the private Lutheran liberal arts university on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso, citing "the unforeseen and unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on business conditions."

"We expect this layoff to be temporary and last less than six months," Team Member Relations Specialist Anthony Capozzi wrote in a letter to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "However, if these unprecedented conditions continue, it is possible for the layoff to extend beyond six months."

Hammond Horseshoe Casino, one of the largest employers in the city, furloughed its employees March 16 and may remain closed "for the foreseeable future." 

"Horseshoe Hammond intends for the furloughs to be temporary; however, given the unknown certainty surrounding COVID-19, it is possible that the furloughs could become a permanent layoff," Regional President Daniel Nita wrote in a letter to the state. "Presently, we do not need assistance for retraining our employees as we fully intend to reopen with our existing employees. Should circumstances change, we will contact the necessary state and local agencies to provide support as needed."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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