Responding to the new federal plant closings law, 17 companies in Southern California this week notified state officials of plans for layoffs or shutdowns that could affect hundreds or even thousands of workers by mid-April.
The notices were filed under a new law that requires companies with 100 or more full-time employees to give 60 days' advance notice of most layoffs or closings that would cost 50 or more workers their jobs.
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Thursday February 16, 1989 Home Edition Business Part 4 Page 2 Column 3 Financial Desk 2 inches; 56 words Type of Material: Correction
Under the new federal plant closing law, 17 companies notified California officials of plans to lay off workers. All but three--Restaurant Enterprises Group in Irvine, Prudential Home Mortgage in Woodland Hills and the H. J. Heinz pet food division in Wilmington--filed in the weeks before the law took effect Feb. 4. A story Saturday reported inaccurately that the notices were all filed after Feb. 4.
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Tuesday February 28, 1989 Home Edition Business Part 4 Page 2 Column 5 Financial Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Liquor Barn, the San Leandro-based retail chain, said it has no plans for layoffs or store closings that would affect 50 or more workers. Because of inaccurate information provided by the California Employment Development Department, The Times incorrectly reported on Feb. 11 that Liquor Barn notified state officials of plans for such a layoff.
That law, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, took effect Feb. 4.
Since Monday, 17 companies with Southern California operations have filed the required notices with the Employment Development Department in Sacramento, and more than 30 businesses have asked about their responsibilities under the law, said Valerie Reynoso, deputy director of communications for the EDD. No notices were filed by Northern California companies.
The notices do not specify how many employees are affected or whether the companies are planning a partial layoff or a plant closing. Several of the filings, however, represent layoffs and plant closings that previously were announced by the companies.
For example, Xerox Corp. announced a major streamlining on Jan. 31 that included reductions at its medical-imaging manufacturing plant in Monrovia and medical systems headquarters in Pasadena. Employment at the two facilities will soon be reduced to about 230 from the current 390.
Employment officials are "not surprised" at the large number of filings, Reynoso said, "and we expect to see many more. It's the nature of the business climate today, with all the mergers, acquisitions and consolidations going on."
What was surprising, she said, "is that none of the filings were from Northern California." She said that EDD officials do not know if this means there are no sizable layoffs planned in the northern part of the state in the next two months or if it simply shows that Southern California firms are being more conscientious about adhering to the new law.
Two of the three Orange County companies that filed notices this week already had publicly announced layoff plans. Western Digital Corp., an Irvine computer maker, announced on Jan. 9 that it would lay off 200 permanent employees and fire 90 contract workers by the end of March as part of a belt-tightening program.
Announced Plans Earlier
And the Edwards Medical Devices unit of Baxter Health Care said in October that it would eliminate 100 of the 400 jobs at its Irvine headquarters.
Neither company indicated Friday, however, whether the filings with the EDD this week related to the previously announced layoffs or to new plans.
The third Orange County firm, Restaurant Enterprises Group in Irvine, could not be reached for comment.
Other firms that filed this week included Oxnard Frozen Foods in Ventura County, Carrier Corp. in City of Industry, Continental Can and Prudential Home Mortgage in the San Fernando Valley, H. J. Heinz Co. in Wilmington, Continental Can Corp. in Van Nuys and Liquor Barn, which said layoffs could affect its stores throughout the state.
A spokesman at Oxnard Frozen Foods said the assets of the frozen vegetable plant are being liquidated by its parent, Alpac Foods Inc. in Santa Maria. The plant, which at one time employed 1,000 workers during harvest seasons, has about 35 employees now.
Shut Plant in January
H. J. Heinz Co., which in November divided its Star-Kist Foods Inc. subsidiary into separate canned seafood and pet food operations, is in the process of laying off about 200 workers.
Heinz's canned seafood unit, which makes Star-Kist tuna, closed its Long Beach plant on Jan. 27 and the company anticipates closing its Wilmington plant, which makes 9-Lives cat food, in April.
"Even though the law is effective on Feb. 4, we took the conservative approach" and met federal notice requirements for both the Jan. 27 plant closing as well as the closing of the Wilmington plant, said W. C. Goode, general manager of human resources at Heinz Pet Products.
"Although we didn't feel we were obligated to submit any notice (for Jan. 27) we decided to do it as a dry run."
Notifying letters were sent to union officials representing plant workers, and a dozen or so individual letters were sent to clerical and supervisory personnel as well as to the mayor of Long Beach and the California state dislocated worker unit.
At Sterlite Corp. in the City of Industry, all 100 employees have been notified that their plant, which produces plastic kitchenware and household products similar to Tupperware, will be shut down by June, said Richard Brill, general manager of the Western division.
One San Fernando Valley company, Filmation, barely avoided having to give 60 days' notice when it was effectively shut down on Feb. 3, one day before the new law took effect.
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