At Least 400 Jobs Are on the Chopping Block in the Seattle Area as New Year Kicks Into Gear

To put that into perspective, the number of unemployed in the metro area declined by 7,700 over the past year.
  • At least 400 jobs are on the chopping block in the Seattle area.
Four Seattle-area employers plan layoffs this month affecting some 400 workers.

Four Seattle-area employers plan to lay off a total of 402 people starting this month and in March, according to notifications filed with the state under the federal WARN Act.

HMSHost, a global restaurant-services provider, plans to permanently layoff 202 people at its SeaTac location beginning March 31, according to a WARN Act notice filed with the state of Washington. Last year in February, the company announced a 10-year, $236 million contract with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to bring five new restaurant options to the airport “that showcase Seattle’s iconic brands and local entrepreneurial chefs.”

In addition, Employee Transportation Services, a provider of corporate shuttle services, filed a WARN notice indicating that it plans to lay off 75 people permanently starting later this month at its Everett and Renton locations. National Labor Relations Board records show that 64 of the 86 workers eligible to participate in a union election at those two sites voted 38 to 26 in favor of unionizing in September 2016. The union organizing drive was led by the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Local 161, NLRB records show.

The two other employers announcing layoffs are both media companies.

Thomson Reuters, a market intelligence firm that employs journalists worldwide, will lay off 58 people in Bellevue starting this month as part of a plan to close that office. The company also has an office in Seattle.

The Tacoma News Tribune is planning to lay off 67 people permanently starting in February. A report published this past December in the Seattle Times indicated that the planned layoffs are related to the company’s decision to shutter its press and outsource its printing operations.

Despite the layoffs at the four companies, the Seattle-area economy and employment picture continues to shine. The metro area recorded a 3.3 percent unemployment rate as of this past December. That’s down from 3.9 percent a year earlier, according to data from the state Employment Security Department. The total number of unemployed people as of this past December stood at 56,700, down from 64,400 a year earlier.

The WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more workers to notify workers 60 days prior to any closure or layoffs. Companies also must provide written notice to the ESD and the top elected official in the community where the layoff or closure is occurring.

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