Fulton County

Frontier plans 27 layoffs

More than two dozen jobs will be lost from Gloversville when Frontier Telephone consolidates its net

More than two dozen jobs will be lost from Gloversville when Frontier Telephone consolidates its network operations to a Texas facility.

Citizens Telecommunications Company of New York, Inc., also known as Frontier Telephone, reported impending layoffs to the state Department of Labor on May 22, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

According to the notice, 27 of the 160 employees at the Johnstown Network Operating Center, located at 137 Harrison St. in Gloversville, will be laid off between Aug. 23 and Nov. 15.

All of the employees to lose their jobs are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 363.

The company is consolidating its operations to a facility in Allen, Texas, according to the notice.

The WARN notice was the second in Fulton County in just over two months.

The Albany-based Center for Disability Services in March announced it planned to eliminate 47 jobs starting June 21 when it shuts down its universal pre-kindergarten and early intervention programs for disabled children in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Ten of those jobs will be lost at the Meco and Boulevard elementary schools in Gloversville, the rest from the Fulton-Montgomery CloverPatch Early Childhood Program at St. Mary’s Institute in Amsterdam.

The move leaves the affected workers with few options but to look for another job in this area or move to Texas, according to Gil Heim, a spokesman for the IBEW Local 363.

The union members do have “bumping rights,” which help those with seniority get other positions, so it’s possible but not certain they could maintain employment, he said.

“It’s not guaranteed that they can go down there and work,” Heim said.

“We offered to see if we could do anything to keep the jobs here. We tried to keep the jobs here. They had their mind set,” he said.

The union represents roughly 700 workers in New York state, Heim said.

Frontier Communications spokeswoman Patricia Amendola said the layoffs are part of the company’s efforts to improve its efficiency — the work performed in Gloversville will be absorbed by workers in Texas.

“This is not a reflection on the employees or their performance. This is an ongoing process within Frontier to really look at ways to eliminate redundant operations and become more efficient throughout the whole company,” she said.

Under the guidance of their union contract, Amendola said, the workers are receiving a 90-day notice, will receive a termination allowance based on their years of service and will have the option to pay to continue their health insurance.

They also have the opportunity to “bump” for other union positions anywhere in the Frontier Communications network of facilities — not just Texas, she said.

Though more layoffs is bad news for Fulton County, there are positive signs for job development in the near future, according to Fulton County Center for Regional Growth CEO Michael Reese.

“It’s bad news because we don’t want to lose any jobs in Fulton County,” he said.

Other companies expanding or planning to start operation in Fulton County may help buffer the blow of these and other losses.

Reese said the Fage yogurt company continues work on its $100 million expansion, which is expected to create 150 jobs.

Pata Negra LLC is retrofitting the former Perrone Leather facility at 20 Industrial Parkway in Gloversville to produce Spanish chorizo, a dry-cured pork sausage, with 20 to 25 employees, later this year, he said.

And CG Roxanne is waiting for approval from the state Department of Health to start bottling water in its new facility in Johnstown, employing roughly 33 people.

“There is some positive economic news. But as I say, we certainly don’t want to lose any jobs in Fulton County,” Reese said.

Categories: Business, News

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