Layoffs In Jacksonville Have Spread Well Beyond Hospitality Industry

Apr 24, 2020
Originally published on April 23, 2020 10:25 am

As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic grows, so too are the layoff notices being filed with the state.

Generally, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires companies with 100 or more employees to give advance notice of layoffs so workers and families can prepare.

While WARN notices exclude smaller employers, they do provide a snapshot of some of the layoffs happening across Jacksonville. WARN filings over the past several weeks show Jacksonville's large employers cut more than 650 jobs either temporarily or permanently. Here are some of them:

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Alsco – Citing the “unprecedented effects of the coronavirus,” the Brooklyn neighborhood branch of the linen and uniform rental services business is laying off 24 employees immediately, “with the hope of returning employees within six months.”

Amentum – The federal contractor “may undergo a permanent reduction in force” that will affect approximately 492 workers around the country, including approximately 10 workers at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

America’s Auto Auction – The New Kings Road business is temporarily laying off 42 employees for an unknown amount of time at its Jacksonville and Pensacola locations. The automotive auction company blames “the sudden and unexpected nature of the virus outbreak” and “the timing of the government mandated shutdown” for the layoffs. The layoffs were expected to start March 17 and be completed by April 30.

Diversified Consultants Inc. – The waste management and remediation services company is permanently closing its Deerwood Park location on the Southside and terminating its approximately 250 employees. The company said it was already on the verge of closing and had been trying to restructure its debt, saying, “The current pandemic has unfortunately brought an end to those efforts.” The last of the jobs will end on April 30.

SportsMEDIA TECHNOLOGY Corp. – The Southside company is “suspending the employment of approximately 100 of our 180+ workers.” The company said “the recent and unprecedented cancellations of sporting events, tournaments and games due to concerns over the COVID19 virus has brought our organization’s operations to a halt.”

Stein Mart – the Jacksonville-based department store chain has temporarily furloughed many of its corporate workers, after previously indefinitely closing its 281 stores across Florida and 29 other states, as WJCT News previously reported. Florida’s WARN Act webpage says 132 workers are affected. Stein Mart, which is headquartered on Jacksonville’s Southbank, said in its WARN letter, “While we cannot predict the future in these uncertain times, we are hopeful that conditions will be such where we can start recalling the furloughed employees as needed by the end of April 2020.”

Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel – The Deerwood area hotel laid off approximately 48 workers the week of March 16, with the expectation that at least some of the layoffs will be temporary, “but we are unable to predict when there will be recalls and, if so, how much of the workforce will be recalled,” the company wrote in its WARN letter.

Vista Products, Inc.  – The Arlington window products manufacturing company is giving its staff more than 60-days notice and is laying off approximately 52 people. The layoffs are permanent, with “changing business needs” listed as the reason.

Related: More Than 1.6M Unemployment Claims Filed In Fla.; Health Care Jobs Trend In Jax

These layoff notices only represent a fraction of the number of recent layoffs.  They don’t include other First Coast communities such as St. Augustine, Orange Park or other areas in the Jacksonville metropolitan area. Nor do they include companies that are not required to file notices. The notices examined were from early March to April 20.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

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