Spokane Journal of Business

WARN notice activity decreases

Three companies have furloughed fewer than 500 Spokane workers, latest notifications show

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In the last month, the number of Spokane County employers filing layoff notices with the Washington state Employment Security Department have arrived at a slower pace than the month prior.

Three companies filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices with ESD since the second week of April compared with a half-dozen from mid-March to early April.

At the Journal’s press time, ESD’s reporting showed no Spokane County employers with layoff start dates beginning in May.

The WARN Act was established by Congress in 1988 and is regulated through the U.S. Department of Labor. Part of the act requires companies with 100 or more employees to notify the public of intended mass layoffs. In Washington state, WARN notices must be filed with the Olympia-based ESD.

ESD figures show 435 employees were temporarily laid off by the three companies in the most recent period, compared with more than 800 workers furloughed within the immediate weeks after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee implemented statewide stay-at-home orders in March in the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In recent filings, Spokane Eye Clinic, with three locations in Spokane and one in Spokane Valley, furloughed 294 workers, the largest number of the three latest companies to file WARN notices. 

The company began layoffs on March 23, however, ESD didn’t receive notification of the furloughs until April 10.

Spokane Industries, a metal castings company founded in 1952, announced temporary layoffs of 113 employees to ESD on April 8.

Visionworks Inc., with retail locations in Spokane, Renton, and Vancouver, announced the temporary layoffs of 28 employees on April 4, and ESD received the WARN notification on May 7, according to ESD’s website.

Visionworks’ retail store here is in the NorthTown Mall, on Spokane’s North Side.

Overall, the number of first-time unemployment benefit claims filed in Spokane County was 6,954 during the week ended May 9, up from 6,056 the previous week.

Weekly first-time unemployment claims in Spokane County peaked at 12,164 for the week ending March 28.

Kevin Blocker
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