513 Face Layoffs At Six Firms

Workers From Denton To Beltsville Affected

April 16, 2009|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,hanah.cho@baltsun.com

More than 500 Baltimore-area workers will be out of work during the next two months as the unemployment rate in the state continues to climb amid the recession.

Mail services provider Pitney Bowes is closing its mail presorting facility in Baltimore by the end of the month, resulting in 70 employees losing their jobs, the company said Wednesday. The move is intended to help streamline operations in the Eastern region, Pitney Bowes said in a statement.

"Pitney Bowes informed affected employees in mid-March and is working closely with them to provide support by making them aware of potential alternative internal job opportunities at other locations," the company said in a statement, noting it is offering workers severance.

Switzerland-based flavoring company Givaudan informed state officials that 63 workers will be laid off because it is closing its Owings Mills plant.

Propak Logistics, an Arkansas-based supply chain company, also told the state that it is laying off 60 people from its Baltimore facility.

Officials with Givaudan and Propak could not be reached Wednesday to comment.

State officials also said Wednesday that they received recent layoff notices at other businesses, including:

* 189 employees at Home Depot's Expo stores in Columbia and Bethesda at the end of this month. In January, Home Depot announced it is shutting down its Expo home-decoration business, affecting 34 stores, including the two in Maryland.

* 63 workers at Beltsville-based Ritz Camera Centers Inc. in late May. Ritz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February.

* 68 employees at Ritz's Boater's World store in Denton in early May. Ritz is liquidating the Boater's World chain.

Maryland's unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent in February, a nearly 17-year high.

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