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SYKES call center cuts 640 Boise workers, asks police to be present

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UPDATES with confirmed number of layoffs. 

Large Boise call center SYKES has laid off an unspecified number of employees, a spokesperson confirmed to BoiseDev.

The layoffs occurred right before the Independence Day holiday.

Regional Communications and PR Director Dana Wiederman says SYKES had some “client changes with their specific business needs” that prompted the layoffs. She could not confirm the number of employees let go, but a filing with the Idaho Department of Labor said approximately 640 people are without jobs.

“SYKES will remain open with business on other accounts and are doing everything we can to help employees impacted by this decision,” Wiederman said. “Those affected were provided 60 days’ pay and benefits to provide them time to adjust and seek other employment. We are actively looking to bring new business to our center in Boise and continue to provide new career opportunities for residents of the Boise metro area.”

SYKES in Boise handles customer service contracts with several companies, including Google’s Nest, Expedia and Capital One. Employees with knowledge of the situation say workers assigned to the Capital One account were impacted by the layoff.  Wiederman would not confirm which contracts were involved.

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Boise Police had a presence at the call center on Chinden Blvd. during the layoff process.

“Officers were on scene in perimeter positions,” Boise Police spokesperson Haley Williams said. “Officers… were there as a precaution.”

Williams said police involvement in a layoff was not a routine practice, but SYKES officials called and asked for the presence ahead of time.

Some employees who remained at the company this week were given literature on how to deal with an active shooter.  Wiederman confirmed the practice, but said the information went out to all employees at SYKES Worldwide.

“(We are) alerting all employees. With the Department of Homeland Security, we are always making sure they have the best information here in the office, in public or at the mall.”

An unrelated call center formerly housed in the same building, operated by Maximus, saw a lay off of more than 1500 people in 2015. According to WARN Act filings with the Idaho Department of Labor, this is the largest layoff in the State of Idaho since the Maximus cuts in 2015.

Unemployment in the Boise metro area hit 2.4% in May – the second lowest rate recorded since 1990, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“With such low unemployment rates in Boise and the broader valley, we’re confident that there’s plenty of opportunity for those impacted to find new work,” City of Boise spokesperson Mike Journee said

 

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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