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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston
 

Aladdin Changeover Under Way

16 August 2004

LAS VEGAS -- The management group that is working to buy the Aladdin hotel-casino out of bankruptcy has sent termination letters to about 20 managers as part of the group's plan to remake the property into a Planet Hollywood resort.

The cuts represent "one half of one percent" of the 3,000 or so employees at the resort, which is a small percentage for a major corporate takeover, Planet Hollywood International Inc. spokeswoman Amy Sadowski said last week.

Separately, the company last week distributed a newsletter to employees reassuring rank-and-file workers that their jobs are safe.

The newsletter isn't the first employees have received from their new owners and will be part of a regular series of communications with workers, Sadowski said.

Workers aren't apprehensive but are asking questions and "want to know what's happening" with the changeover, she said.

"This is a proactive way to get the word out. We will continue to do that as a new way to communicate with everybody," she said.

The newsletter is addressed to workers from Planet Hollywood resort President and Chief Executive Mike Mecca.

"We are thrilled that you will become Planet Hollywood team members," it reads. "As a Planet Hollywood team member you're going to enjoy some of the finest wages, benefits and opportunities in the gaming industry in the very exciting Las Vegas market."

"The investment we are making will provide a bright future for all of us. This means better tips, increased foot traffic and most importantly an experience our guests will always remember."

In the newsletter, Mecca informs workers that Klai Juba Architects and Dougall Design Associates Inc. will soon begin work to rebrand the property.

Mecca also said the company will be "promoting from within" whenever possible. Aladdin Vice President of Finance Donna Lehmann will become chief financial officer of the Planet Hollywood property, he said.

The nonunion property has lately endured criticism from the Culinary Union, which wants to represent the hundreds of housekeeping, restaurant and other service workers at the hotel-casino.

The union two weeks ago staged a rally in front of the non-union resort to press the property into recognizing the union through a worker card-check procedure.

Planet Hollywood officials, who are awaiting a licensing hearing before the Nevada Gaming Commission Aug. 26, declined comment on the union's demand.