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NEW CASTLE Telemarketing firm shuts down local office



Published: Tue, July 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The company says a severe reduction in calling hours forced the closing.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A telemarketing firm claiming financial hardship laid off 119 employees and offered an additional 67 transfers to other offices last week.

Reese Bros., a Pittsburgh-based company, announced it was closing in the Lawrence Village Plaza in Shenango Township, where it had been since October. Previously, Reese Bros. had operated out of a building on Butler Aven4ue since 1995.

The company filed paperwork with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry on July 25 stating that the Lawrence County location closed because of a "sudden and severe reduction in the number of calling hours directed to Reese Bros. from a major client, Providian Financial Inc."

The paperwork also notes that another unnamed client declared bankruptcy in the last week, which affected its business.

The information was sent to the state as part of Pennsylvania's Worker's Adjustment and Notification Retraining Act, which requires any company closing its doors to notify the state and give employees 60 days' notice.

Jason Arbacheski, spokesman for the Department of Labor and Industry, said the company did not give his department 60 days' notice, but Reese Bros.' explanation that unforeseen circumstances caused the close will likely not result in any state penalty.

Ralph Reese, company vice chairman, did not return calls Monday afternoon to comment.

Workers

A letter Reese wrote to state officials details those being laid off. They include 106 telemarketers, eight telemarketing supervisors, two telemarketing verifiers, two administrative assistants and one recruiter.

The letter stated that 67 additional employees were offered jobs at other Reese Bros. locations with no change in pay or benefits. If they do not accept the offer, those employees will also be laid off, according to the letter.

This is apparently the third Reese Bros. office to close this year.

In May, 131 people were laid off from a subsidiary of Reese Bros., called Communications & amp; Commerce, in Indiana, Pa., and a few days earlier 50 employees were laid off from the company's Charleroi location near Pittsburgh.

The company's Web site states that Reese Bros. has 12 locations in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, including New Castle, Charleroi and Indiana, Pa., and two offices in South Carolina and Indiana.

cioffi@vindy.com




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