Rio Rancho mayor, Hewlett Packard employees address job losses

Posted at: 01/08/2013 12:26 PM
Updated at: 01/08/2013 12:45 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News

First, Hewlett Packard laid off about 100 people from the Rio Rancho plant last summer - now, hundreds more employees are being hit with another wave of cutbacks.

This time, about 200 employee positions are being transferred out-of-state.

"I started thinking about what could we do better to kinda keep the company here, were there some incentives or anything that Georgia may have offered that we were unable to either as a state or as a city, and that answer was no," Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack told KOB Tuesday.

The transfer is part of HP's restructuring plan announced this past May, unfolding at the cost of Rio Rancho employees.

The state-of-the-art facility has been in Rio Rancho for about three years.

But in July, the company laid off 27,000 employees nationwide, including a hundred from this local branch.

KOB received a statement Tuesday from HP Spokesman Michael Thacker.

"In an effort to drive efficiencies, it was announced on January 7 that all Customer Solution Center (CSC) support currently delivered from Rio Rancho, NM will be transitioned to Alpharetta, GA... There is a likelihood that a small number of those impacted will be offered an opportunity to relocate."

But those 200 workers affected are left in limbo, as it remains unclear how many will be offered an opportunity to move. "The sad part for me is that now we're gonna try to put our arms around what might be the rippling effect in our respected community," Swisstack said. Those who live here express similar concern.

"For more companies to be moving out, it's just not good, we're never gonna catch up to anybody else, we're always last in everything," Julian Vigil said.

"They bring their jobs here to New Mexico then all of a sudden you turn around and everybody's leaving New Mexico, so what's the deal," Theresa Anaya said.

A KOB crew tried to talk to several HP employees Tuesday morning but were turned away, with some saying they had not yet heard about the changes.

The transfer of positions from New Mexico to Georgia will happen now through October.

"You have businesses come, you have businesses go, but it's like, I'd like to see more coming in, and what will it take for that to happen," Swisstack said. "I think that's part of the tax structure we need to look at collectively as a state."