Blaming Recession, Leedmark Lays Off 94 Workers

January 07, 1992|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff writer

Nearly a fourth of the employees at Leedmark, the one-stop shopping hybrid that opened last May in Glen Burnie, were told yesterday they'd lost their jobs.

The European-style hypermarket laid off 62 full-time and 32 part-time workers in a move to bolster the store during a recession, managers said.

"We truly regret having to make this unpleasant decision, but thestate of the economy has forced our hand," Thomas Lenkevich, president of G. B. Glenmark, Ltd. Co., Leedmark's operating company, told workers in a meeting yesterday morning.

"We can only hope that conditions will improve in the near future so that we can once again offeremployment to you and our other fine associates."

Leedmark brought in three Maryland Unemployment Agency staff members yesterday to help employees file for unemployment insurance and look for new jobs.

Spokesman Edward Segal, who could not disclose any financial information, said only that business in the past seven months has been goodand the store has been well-received by customers.

"But as good as business has been in the past, we are concerned about the future ofthe economy," he said.

"The decision to lay off a part of our work force at this time was a business decision made in recognition of the impact of the continued national recession and the poor local economy. From our perspective, these are business conditions that cannot be ignored."

The company laid off employees based on seniority, everyone from managers to maintenance workers, both salaried and hourly, Segal said.

The store, which opened May 22, will continue operating with the remaining 350 employees and no plans to cut hours or services, he said.

Lenkevich told workers the store will keep their names on a recall list for up to six months.

"During that period, should we have a need for increased staff, we hope to recall associates on a seniority basis," he said. "Even so, we suggest that you not rely on the likelihood of reinstatement any time soon."

Managers gave workers health-care coverage information. Under the law, the associates can buy health insurance from their former employer for the next 18 months.

The layoffs became effective at the close of businessyesterday.

Segal said the layoffs would not affect plans to open more stores in the Baltimore-Washington area.

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