Schuylkill County logistics warehouse to close, costing 132 jobs

Ryder Integrated Logistics Inc. announced that it will close its Schuylkill County plant at 71 Mall Road, New Castle Township, terminating 132 employees.

The company, which calls itself “a leader in supply chain, dedicated transportation and fleet management solutions,” filed a Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act letter with the state Department of Labor & Industry that said the closure is expected to be permanent.

In a statement provided to the media, Ryder said that in accordance with the WARN Act, “we notified the state that, due to the bankruptcy announcement of our customer Bed Bath & Beyond, the retailer’s distribution center at 71 Mall Road in Frackville … will be closing between June 25 and July 9, 2023. Based on the information currently known and available, we anticipate that 132 positions at the Ryder-managed distribution center will be eliminated within that time period.

“Ryder remains committed to continuing to serve the needs of our customers in Pennsylvania, where we continue to operate other sites. Ryder is working on redeployment efforts, as feasible, to retain as many employees as possible.”

None of the workers at the Mall Road facility, which is on the site of the former Schuylkill Mall (since razed), are unionized.

Ryder Integrated Logistics is a subsidiary of Ryder System Inc., a $12 billion fully integrated port-to-door logistics and transportation company with operations throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Ryder System includes 48,000 employees, 45,000 customers, 260,000 vehicles under management, 11,000 professional drivers, 300 warehouses and 95 million square feet of retail space.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Santander Bank to lay off 77 workers in Reading

Santander Bank N.A. will lay off 77 employees at its facility at 450 Penn St., Reading – job losses it believes will be permanent.

The financial institution announced the move in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

A federal law, the WARN Act protects workers, their families and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Santander said in the filing that job separations should start on or about June 30; because it’s an ongoing transition process, the layoffs may come in stages.

The employees affected are involved in various aspects of the bank’s operations and call center teams, and all were notified April 17. None are unionized.

Asked for further comment, the company said this decision is the result of changes to streamline the bank’s processes and its operating model, with changes being implemented over the next year.

There are no other impacts beyond customer-facing call center teams, Santander said.

The company is actively working to connect as many affected employees as possible with new roles. In accordance with its policies, severance-eligible employees will receive outplacement services.

Santander Bank remains committed to all its customers, the company said, including those in the region. The bank serves customers in 33 branches across central Pennsylvania; no customer service impacts are expected as a result of the layoffs.

Employees affected who complete service through their end date will be eligible for severance benefits, including severance pay based on years of service and subsidized COBRA coverage as well as the above-mentioned career outplacement assistance.

“Team member reductions are never easy for either the team member or for Santander,” the WARN letter said. “We continue to make every effort to minimize the impact and ease the transition … .”

Santander Bank N.A. is one of the country’s largest retail and commercial banks with $99 billion in assets, according to its website. The bank’s nearly 9,000 employees and more than 2 million customers are primarily located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island,

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Madrid-based Banco Santander S.A.

In February 2022, Santander announced that it was discontinuing its residential mortgage and home equity originations segment in the U.S.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Heartland Healthcare Services closing Allentown pharmacy; 71 lose jobs

Heartland Healthcare Services, which operates long-term care pharmacies, is closing its Allentown location at 7010 Snowdrift Road No. 1, idling 71 employees.

The announcement was made this week in a federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Employees, none of whom are unionized, will lose their jobs “on or about Feb. 28,” the WARN notice said.

Heartland said in the filing that the decision was made because of ProMedica’s closing its nursing facilities, “sudden, dramatic and unexpected business circumstances not reasonably foreseeable.” The company had no further comment.

Established in 1994, Heartland has three other long-term care pharmacies – in Ohio, Maryland and Florida, according to its website.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

More than 100 Berks jobs lost as C.H. Briggs to close after 55 years

C.H. Briggs Co., a Reading-based independently owned wholesale distributor of interior specialty building materials for more than 55 years, announced this month that it will close.

The decision impacts 130 employees – all nonunion – across C.H. Briggs’ five locations, including 104 at its corporate headquarters and Reading fulfillment center, both of which are at 2047 Kutztown Road. The other sites are in Lansdale; Richmond, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Norcross, Georgia.

According to the company’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state Department of Labor & Industry, 82 employees will be laid off effective Feb. 1; one employee effective March 1; and 21 employees effective April 1.

A release from C.H. Briggs said the decision to close was made after repeated efforts to restructure its relationship with its primary supplier were unsuccessful.

All employees will receive a severance and benefits package, and a small team will remain through March 31 to finalize the operational details of the closure.

Julia Klein, chairwoman of C.H. Briggs Co., said in a statement:

“To say we are sad and disappointed would be an understatement. Changes in the supply chains we depended on mean we can no longer provide the quality of products and customer service that was the hallmark of our business. We made every attempt to avoid this outcome. Our efforts were exhaustive, but we were left with no other option but to wind down our operations.

“We recognize how painful this decision is for our co-workers, which is why we worked so hard to avoid it. We have a talented team, and we are doing all we can to help them be successful in the next phase of their careers. We have built a strong culture over three generations, and we are deeply grateful to our co-workers, customers and suppliers for more than a half-century of empowering, elevating and enriching the lives of the communities we serve.

“C.H. Briggs is more than just a distributor of specialty building materials. Our work has always been about people and community – creating exceptional spaces where we can all live, work, learn, play and heal. Our hope is that those spaces, and the people who design and build them, will be our legacy.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Stitch Fix to close its Berks County operations

Online clothing company Stitch Fix is shuttering its Mohnton Mills operations by the end of this year, leaving 56 employees without jobs.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing sent to the state Department of Labor & Industry, Stitch Fix said its sewing factory at 22 Main St., Mohnton, and knitting mill at 130 N. Sterley St., Reading, would close.

Although the last day of onsite operations is anticipated to be Oct. 28, the WARN notice said, 55 affected employees will continue their fully paid employment through Dec. 2. After that, three supervisory workers of the 55 will remain employed on an unpaid leave of absence through a separation date of Dec. 15. One supervisory employee will be employed and fully paid through Dec. 30.

“As we focus on the strategies that support our return to profitable growth, notably increasing our number of active clients and optimizing our cost base, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to close our operations at Mohnton Mills,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“While this is the right decision for our business, it is a hard day for our team. We are committed to supporting them with severance payments that increase with tenure, extended health care, recruitment resources and other benefits.”

The company is also offering two months’ paid notice, and a bonus for those staying to support the wind down.

San Francisco-based Stitch Fix, which is continuing to navigate an uncertain macro-economic climate and undertake a major business transformation, bought the sewing factory and knitting mill in 2017. It had formerly been Mohnton Knitting Mills, founded by Aaron Hornberger in 1906.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

7 Lehigh Valley businesses file WARN notices due to COVID-19

Seven businesses in the Greater Lehigh Valley have filed WARN notices announcing layoffs or closures since Gov. Wolf on March 19, ordered non-life sustaining businesses to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WARN notices, short for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, must be filed with the state Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industries by any business with more than 100 employees that plans to lay off or furlough workers. Employers are generally required to provide a notice to workers, unions and the department 60 days in advance of any layoffs.

The following businesses announced they will either close their doors or lay off employees due to COVID-19:

  • Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie has laid off 352 workers effective March 19. Bear Creek said it expects the layoffs to be for less than six months due to COVID-19.
  • Camelback Resort in Tannersville has laid off 720 people from April 1 through May 4. It expects it to be temporary due to COVID-19
  • Kelly Automotive Group in Emmaus has laid off 123 workers. It expects it to be temporary due to COVID-19.
  • Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. of Leesport has laid off 169 employees. It expects it to be temporary due to COVID-19.
  • G&W Laboratories Inc. of Sellersville has laid off 124 employees through June 30.
  • MacIntosh Linen and Uniform in Bethlehem has laid off 97 employees. It said it is expected to be temporary due to COVID-19.
  • The YMCA of Reading and Berks County has laid off 228 workers. It expects it to be temporary due to COVID-19.

Reading Eagle says 81 job cuts will come with impending sale

With the impending sale of the Reading Eagle Co. to Media News Group of Denver, the company has issued a notice that calls for the elimination of 81 jobs effective June 30 – the day the sale is expected to be complete.

In May, MediaNews, a multiplatform news and information company, was the sole qualified bidder for the Reading-based media firm, which filed bankruptcy in March of this year.

MediaNews, which also goes by the name Digital First Media, operates about 200 publications around the country, including the Pottstown Mercury and Berks-Mont News.

The Reading Eagle Co. is the parent company of the Reading Eagle newspaper and radio station WEEU AM 830. It also owns a commercial printer, a marketing company and a weekly newspaper.

The company has a total of 221 employees. A WARN Act notice had been put out last month that gave the possibility all positions could be eliminated in the event a buyer wasn’t found. WARN stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

The 81 jobs represents just under a third of the company’s staff.