Last day for many Bay Area WaMu workers

January 30, 2009 11:48:46 AM PST
The government announced the economy shrank by 3.8 percent in the last quarter of 2008 -- that's the worst showing in a quarter-century. Meanwhile, the ranks of the unemployed in the Bay Area have just grown.

Since JP Morgan-Chase bought out Washington Mutual bank last year, the transition has included consolidating and streamlining operations, and to the 1,200 employees at the Pleasanton call center that means layoffs, with a portion of them losing their jobs as of today.

In total in the Bay Area, 1,600 Washington Mutual employees are being laid off -- 1,200 in Pleasanton and 400 at a San Francisco office.

The layoffs are no shock. Several hundred employees received 60-day notices December 1st last year, and have had the last two months to prepare.

WaMu gave the remaining employees various end-dates throughout the year to help continue the transfer of work.

While employees are receiving severance packages, WaMu-Chase has also been trying to help place workers inside and outside the company and offer job fairs and services.

The Tri-Valley One-Stop Career Center has been coming out to help workers at the Pleasanton offices since last year.

"We're hopeful. The economy can't stay down forever, and I think hopefully maybe with the new administration, we might see additional retraining dollars that may be coming to our area to help individuals achieve the skills that they need to get themselves back into the job market," said Pat Donovan from the Tri-Valley One-Stop Career Center.

The state's Employment Development Department is also on-site informing displaced workers about unemployment benefits.

Both the Pleasanton and San Francisco sites will be closed sometime this year. Other WaMu-Chase facilities in other parts of the country will take over the work done here.

A WaMu spokesperson Told ABC7 there are 4,200 WaMu employees being laid off in California. For half of them, today is their last day on the job. WaMu says customer service will not be affected.