400 people to lose jobs as call center closes in Albion

Posted at: 06/06/2013 6:42 PM
Updated at: 06/06/2013 11:45 PM
By: Lynette Adams

JPMorgan Chase is closing it's call center in Albion, and tonight, News10NBC learned 485 employees will lose their jobs in three months.

The call center is not only Albion's largest employer, it's one of the largest in Orleans County.

JPMorgan Chase tells us it is closing because fewer people need the services provided by this center. These workers helped people facing foreclosure with loan modifications so they could keep their homes. Chase says fewer families are falling into foreclosure, so the need for these services is declining.

We spoke with Joe Martillotta, Owner of the Crooked Door Tavern, who says he's worried about how this will impact the community.

“They've been here, started with Anchor, Dime, Washington Mutual, Chase. We're just praying that someone comes in and fills the void and we hope that these people get something whether its with a new tenant. We hope and pray there a new tenant.”

So will the company do anything to help these employees find other opportunities? And what kind of an impact will the closure have on Albion?

Albion Mayor, Dean Theodorakos, told News10NBC, there have been rumors and speculation for sometime that there could be layoffs. Last summer 74 people were laid off. But he says he had no advance warning the Chase call center would be closing altogether. He said not even a phone call today. We tried to nail Chase down on exactly what it will do for these 485 people?

Spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase, Amy Bonitatibus, responded saying, “That's why we are committed to helping them find their next job whether it's with Chase or with another employer in the area. We work closely with the government and their unemployment services, so this something we are very committed to.”

Theodorakos said, “I think a fair number of them will find jobs elsewhere. Let's face it many people commute to Rochester. I think there will be opportunities for them, but a blow to the village is the businesses that those folks bring. It will be tough to overcome.”

Workers tell me the jobs pay very well at the call center. One woman told me she makes $23 an hour and all the overtime she can work. So there are concerns about finding other jobs. The mayor says he will reach out to state and federal lawmakers.

Like Senator Chuck Schumer. When Chase threatened to pull out in 2009, Schumer was able to convince the company to stay back then.

In a statement released tonight, Schumer said:

"I was totally blindsided by this announcement; I'm shocked and infuriated. Just months ago, when JP Morgan announced global job cuts, we were told that this operation was not at risk, so this news is a bitter disappointment. I intend to talk to the JP Morgan CEO tomorrow morning, to see what plans they have to take care of these hard-working people, many of whom have dedicated years of service to this facility."

Workers tell News10NBC they have been offered a severance package. Their last day on the job is September 4.

The company spokesperson tells News10NBC there are some openings in Rochester, but she didn't say how many. However the mayor says workers were told there could possibly be as many as 150 jobs.