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Trade show industry giant extends worker furloughs

Updated September 25, 2020 - 6:44 pm

Nevada companies are extending furloughs for or laying off hundreds of workers in coming weeks.

Among them is one of the largest event management companies in the Las Vegas Valley, Freeman Company LLC, which is extending the furloughs of 242 employees across its operations. The company puts together exhibits for annual events such as CES and the National Association of Broadcasters convention, both of which canceled their Las Vegas shows, citing the effects of the pandemic.

“Extending the furlough is the result of unforeseeable business circumstances caused by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing devastating financial impact on our business,” the company wrote in a notice it filed with Nevada’s employment bureau. A spokesman didn’t return a request for comment.

Freeman hopes to “eventually” bring back its furloughed employees and is maintaining their health insurance, according to the notice. The company would extend their furloughs from Wednesday through March 1, read the notice, dated Sept. 18.

In Sparks, the Nugget hotel-casino plans to lay off 154 of its employees on Nov. 15, according to a notice it sent to the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Those companies filed notices under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which is meant to ensure employees have notice before significant layoffs so they have time to find work elsewhere.

The moves represent the latest round of furloughs and layoffs for Southern Nevada, which continues to feel the economic sting of the COVID-19 pandemic even as businesses reopen from a statewide shutdown.

Also, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters is laying off 10 workers and furloughing or extending the furlough of 100 employees throughout Las Vegas, a Papillon notice said. The company said it hopes to bring back employees at the start of tourist season in early 2021, contingent on a COVID-19 vaccine, a return of tourists or easing of travel restrictions.

The company began furloughs for some employees in March, the notice said. Some of the laid-off employees were those who had been previously furloughed.

A weapons and defense contracting company, Amentum, told DETR in a letter dated Sept. 17 that layoffs of 524 employees across 10 states would come Oct. 26 barring a Combined Tactical Training Range Systems and Equipment contract extension with the federal government. Of those 524 employees, 161 are based in Nevada, the notice said.

Restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro signaled to DETR that employees at five Nevada locations would see reduced hours. The chain filed separate notices for each location, all saying the reduced hours would affect “up to 75 employees” who previously averaged 20 hours a week and worked for longer than six months.

“These unforeseen circumstances may have resulted in limiting our ability to schedule shifts and operate as we previously did,” the notices said. “Many of our employees, at the restaurant identified above, have suffered a reduction of hours of greater than 50 (percent) because of the reduced operations at the restaurant.”

Representatives for Amentum and P.F. Chang’s could not be reached.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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