July 31, 2013 in City

Center Partners to lay off 578 Liberty Lake workers

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Center Partners will lay off 578 workers at its Liberty Lake call center by Oct. 1, the company announced Tuesday.

The firm also announced plans this week to lay off 600 workers and close an office in its headquarters city of Fort Collins, Colo.

The company’s chief operating officer told the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper that the layoffs were the result of “changing business needs.”

In both cases the layoffs were large enough to require official notice to state agencies.

No reason was given by Center Partners in the letter mailed to the Washington state Employment Security Department.

“This is truly unfortunate,” said Katy Allen, Liberty Lake’s city administrator. “You just hate to see jobs go away.”

The future of the company’s call center in Coeur d’Alene – with 1,700 employees as of late last year – is unclear.

Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson noted that as Center Partners lays off workers, a new call center is opening in the city.

In June, Vivint Inc. announced plans to expand into Liberty Lake and hire 400 people. The move was spurred partly by relocation assistance from government and economic development officials.

Peterson said he did not believe that the lost Center Partners jobs were being transferred across the state line to the Coeur d’Alene center, where employers can pay lower wages than Washington’s minimum wage.

Call center employment in the Inland Northwest fluctuates with big contracts and financial trends.

The Liberty Lake operation started in 2011 when the company expanded and seeded its new call center with about 300 employees from Coeur d’Alene.

Center Partners first moved into the Liberty Lake building along North Madson Street where Telect Inc. had been located. The company leased additional land for 300 parking spaces.


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