Illinois employers announce more than 2,100 mass layoffs in May

Jun 07, 2017

Illinois employers announced more than 2,100 mass layoffs in May, marking the second time this year the monthly Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, report has topped 2,000 mass layoffs.

Under the 2004 Illinois WARN Act, employers with 75 or more full-time workers are required to notify the state 60 days in advance of any impending layoffs and company closures.

Ten companies notified the state last month that 2,126 workers will be affected by the layoffs, including 667 employees at Butterball’s bacon processing plant in Montgomery, located just south of Aurora.

Butterball, which will close its doors for good by July 17, cited “changing market conditions” for the plant’s closure. Company officials said some of the affected workers will be transferred to other facilities, though there are no other Butterball-owned processing plants in Illinois

The second largest source of the mass layoffs comes from Central Grocers, Inc., a wholesaler that supplies more than 400 independent grocery stores in the Chicago area. Last month, the Chicago Tribune reported the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being in business for more than a century. About 550 employees are being laid off, according to the WARN report.

Another 258 workers are being laid off at Kellogg Co.’s distribution center in Woodridge as the Michigan-based cereal and snack manufacturing giant undergoes “reorganization.” The shuttering of the Chicago-area distribution center is one of dozens slated for closure across the country.

In all, 453 manufacturing jobs are among those being lost as a result of the mass layoffs. General Electric, which last year announced it would be closing its lamp plant in Mattoon because of a slowdown in business, officially notified the state that 135 workers will be losing their jobs beginning July 28 through March 2018.

Ninety-six employees at the Kmart in Bloomingdale will be laid off by August as the big box department store chain continues to close locations both in Illinois and throughout the country. And JCPenney’s Centerpointe Mall location in Woodridge is closing on July 31, affecting 87 workers.

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois is closing its Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center program in Addison, where 84 people are employed.

Mike Bertrand, president and CEO of LCFS, said in a statement that payments from the state “for core programs such as youth residential services, no longer cover the cost of providing quality services to traumatized children and families.”

“Over the years, LCFS sought private dollars to cover stagnant rates for services that did not keep up with rising cost of providing services,” he added.

A spokeswoman for LCFS said the lack of a budget with adequate appropriations to cover the rising costs of providing such services is partially to blame for the program’s closing.

In March, employers announced 2,573 mass layoffs, the most since November 2015.

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