Things Remembered, Brentwood Layoff Workers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Amid the COVID-19 shutdowns, the surge in company closures and layoffs this week includes 20 WARN notices filed with Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, including two by Mahoning County companies that collectively employ more than 300.

On Tuesday, Brentwood Originals Inc. and the Things Remembered Fulfillment Center filed notices they were closing, with layoff dates of March 23 and March 24, respectively.

In their letters, as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, both companies state they hope the sudden terminations will be temporary and result from the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Mike DeWine.

While Brentwood – which terminated 190 employees from its operation at 1309 N. Meridian Road – didn’t specifically mention the coronavirus pandemic as the cause, Joel Fierberg, senior vice president and chief financial officer wrote the “nature of the present crisis” could render the terminations permanent.

“While the company is unable to provide the 60-day notice normally required by the Act,” Fierberg wrote, “the company is giving as much notice as is practicable under the circumstances, in light of the fact that these are business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that advance notice would have been required and in light of the suddenness of the governor’s March 22, 2020 stay-at-home order.”

Workers at Brentwood are represented by United Steelworkers District 1, Sub-District 1.

Things Remembered also cited the order, as well as a “dramatic reduction in orders” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a letter from the company. The entire fulfillment center at 500 South Bailey Road, North Jackson, is closed, except for a few management employees. Layoffs total 158.

“We do not expect the employment reductions to be long term, and anticipate recalling Teammates as business conditions permit,” the company wrote.

That makes 36 WARN notices filed thus far in March, and 55 for the year, according to the DJFS website. Before March, just 19 notices had been filed.

Last week, Ventra Salem in Salem and Ultra Premium Services in Brookfield filed WARN notices, laying off 794 and 121 workers, respectively. Both cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for their temporary halts in production.

In a letter by human resource manager Tammy Anderson, Ventra, which serves the automotive industry, said the “sudden, temporary stop” in automobile production as a result of COVID-19 forced the company to temporarily stop production March 20. Layoffs were effected March 23.

Ultra Premium Services cited the “sudden, drastic drop in oil prices” and the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the layoff of 121 employees effective April 17.

Columbus McKinnon Corp. filed a WARN notice March 10, with intent to lay off its 69 workers between May 5 and Nov. 1. Of its total workforce, 51 are represented by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, and Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union AFL-CIO-CLC, Local Union 3372-3.

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