Spokane Journal of Business

LabCorp to lay off nearly 200 employees here

Downsizing will occur over next several months

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LabCorp, the Burlington, N.C.-based S&P 500 company that acquired Spokane-based Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories last year, confirmed Thursday it will lay off close to 200 employees here in the coming months.

"We've tried to be upfront as much as possible, and by November and December last year began informing employees that we would be eliminating positions in 2018," says Don Von Hagen, vice president of corporate communications.

"It'll be just under 200 workers affected, about 195 positions," he says. "This shouldn't be a surprise (to employees), but formal notice went out today."

Once layoffs are completed, LabCorp will have about 500 employees in the Spokane area.

Von Hagen, reached by the Journal in North Carolina Thursday, says the layoffs will occur over "the next several months." However, he wouldn't specify a specific time frame as to when all layoffs would be complete.

LabCorp, which operates one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the world, says on its website that it processes lab tests on about 500,000 specimens a day. It employs more than 50,000 people in 60 countries and reported revenue in excess of $9 billion in 2016.

Prior to the acquisition, PAML, which turned 60 last year, had its corporate headquarters at 629 N. Iron Court, in the Iron Bridge Office Campus just east of Gonzaga University. Its main laboratory is located at 110 W. Cliff Drive, on the South Hill. It also operates a number of patient service centers in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

Last year, PAML ranked 23rd on the Journal's Largest Spokane County Employers list, with 829 full-time equivalent employees in the county.

LabCorp wants to restructure parts of its Spokane operations and send some laboratory functions performed here to other LabCorp facilities. A multitude of departments will be reconfigured with the retained workers to be used in the transition, Von Hagen says.

Doug Tweedy, the Spokane-based regional economist for the Washington state Employment Security Department, says as of Thursday, ESD hadn't received what's called a WARN notice, from LabCorp.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 is a U.S. Department of Labor law, which is designed to protect employees, their families, and communities by requiring employers with more than 60 workers to provide 30- to 60-day advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs.

As of Thursday, LabCorp's website listed 13 positions in Spokane it seeks to fill. Von Hagen says dislocated employees are encouraged to apply for positions if they believe they're a qualified match for the different jobs.

"Any employee affected by layoff is encouraged to apply in Spokane, or at other LabCorp facilities such as in Tri-Cities or Seattle," he says.

In acquiring PAML from former joint owners Providence Health & Services and Catholic Health Initiatives, LabCorp assumed PAML's ownership interests in a number of joint ventures, which collectively serve customers in six Western states and Kentucky.

Those joint ventures include PACLAB Network Laboratories and Tri-Cities Laboratory, both based in Washington state; Colorado Laboratory Services, based in Lakewood, Colo.; MountainStar Clinical Laboratories, based in Salt Lake City; and Kentucky Laboratory Services, based in Lexington, Ky. In addition, PAML, as a LabCorp subsidiary, acquired certain assets of Alpha Medical Laboratories--a former PAML-affiliated joint venture with Coeur d'Alene-based Kootenai Health--from its hospital owner.

 Kevin Blocker
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Reporter Kevin Blocker, a University of Colorado alum, is a rec league basketball addict. At age 47, he still sports a 32-inch vertical leap. He has three children, all of whom are hooked on hoops.

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