Gaylord to layoff 1,700 as resort works to recover from flood

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 1:46pm
Staff reports

Gaylord Opryland announced today plans to layoff 1,743 employees while the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Grand Ole Opry can be repaired from unprecedented flooding May 2-3.

“We have made significant progress in our work to assess and repair the damage inflicted by the historic flooding,” said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Gaylord Entertainment. “Our Nashville-area assets have been stabilized and we have a large group of contractors and experts working diligently alongside our management team to get us back to business as soon as possible.”

Based on damage assessments and the remediation/restoration plan underway, Gaylord plans to reopen The Wildhorse Saloon and General Jackson on June 5, Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 1 and Gaylord Opryland on Nov. 15.

In a Wednesday statement, Reed said the company has been providing its Gaylord Opryland employees with full pay and benefits since May 3. However, because of the five-month timeline for reopening of the resort, the company will release 1,743 employees, effective June 12.

Gaylord said it would continue to make healthcare benefits available at the same cost to employees through September. Additionally, Gaylord will provide affected employees with two weeks of pay, plus payment for any unused vacation days.

In the meantime, Gaylord Opryland will continue to employ 919 employees throughout the restoration process. These employees are employed primarily in the areas of reservations, accounting, sales, IT, engineering, horticulture and security.

Reed said flood damage requires an “extraordinarily complicated repair process.”

“We have had to manually test every aspect of our mechanical, electrical, information technology, and power generating systems in order to understand what works, what needs to be repaired, and what needs to be replaced. There is an entire city of infrastructure which operates under the Gaylord Opryland campus, the majority of which was fully under water, and thus the assessment process has been extensive.”