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Monday, May 2, 2016

Ross Rambles:Workers get bad news

Monday, January 23, 2006

Recently, we've gotten calls about two different companies in our coverage area laying off or transferring employees. These calls were from employees who were upset by the way the company handled these changes.

It is difficult to report on company personnel changes without the cooperation of the company.

The Tyson plant in Cherokee is not one of the companies I'm referring to. Tyson has been open with information about the pending temporary layoff of more than 50 employees at the Cherokee plant, including giving the reason for the layoff and describing what will happen in the future.

The time was a bit vague on when the laid off employees will return and new positions added (sometime later this year), but the company doesn't know a specific date. It depends on future variables.

The two companies referred to, Kmart in Cherokee and American Identity plant in Marcus, were not really secretive. A spokesman at each company talked to me but there were details I couldn't get from the Kmart spokesman and there were matters I just didn't get into with the American Identity spokesman.

The complaint that was passed on to me about the after-Christmas Kmart layoffs was that they took place without notice and involved some senior full-time employees.

The Kmart spokesman, reached by an 800 number at an unknown location, said that Kmart had evaluated its personnel needs nationwide and reduced personnel at some locations, increased personnel at others and didn't change at others. The policy prohibited comment on individual stores.

A worker at American Identity contacted me and said that the one of the three shifts in Marcus, the (3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift) was being shut down. The person said that the employees affected were not guaranteed a job at the American Identity plant in Orange City and that seniority would not be taken into account. A 3 to 11 shift employee could not bump a less senior employee on another shift.

An American Identity spokesman in Orange City said that the 3 to 11 shift in Marcus was being transferred to Orange City and all of the 3 to 11 shift workers could retain their jobs.

Both of these company's personnel changes mean the loss of jobs in Cherokee County and therefore are newsworthy, even without the specific numbers that we like with those kind of stories. All we know is that some people have lost their jobs and some people will have the hardship of a long commute, a hardship that may be impractical to overcome for some workers.

The issues of lack of notice and lack of consideration for employee seniority may be reasons for workers to be upset but they don't play out as something you could define as a scandal. It is a sad fact of corporate life that is all too familiar.