AMHERST TWP. — TeleTech is losing its contract to handle customer service for T-Mobile and has announced it will lay off 247 people.
A company spokeswoman said 183 employees will remain at the facility in Amherst Township.
The employees are not in a union, and there are no bumping rights for the 217 customer-service agents, 30 administrators and other workers who will lose their jobs effective Sept. 15.
TeleTech announced in a letter to public officials it would conduct “a mass layoff” at its customer service center after a client decided to handle its own customer services.
County Commissioner Tom Williams said TeleTech apparently still will handle customer service for Nissan at the Amherst Township facility.
Among those who are losing their jobs is Brande Wright, of Elyria, who was hired in March and earns $9.25 an hour.
She said she and others being laid off work on the T-Mobile account.
Employees who work for Nissan or other clients are not losing their jobs, Wright said.
“I walked into work today, and everyone was sitting around in shock,” Wright said. “They said they were closing Sept. 15.”
At one time, about 800 people worked at the facility at 1230 Park Ave., which opened in 2007.
TeleTech spokeswoman Jeanna Blatt said the Englewood, Colo.-based company does not discuss its clients, but that the company pulling out wanted to handle its own customer-service calls.
“We do have a client leaving due to declines in customer base and call volume,” she said.
“We are seeking new business to replace the work but have no assurance at this time a new client will be found,” Blatt said.
She said the company offers a severance package to all employees, but she declined to elaborate on how much help will be offered.
County Administrator James Cordes said the county plans to offer assistance to those losing their jobs.
“We want to do a rapid response and come in and give them services,” Cordes said. “We have almost 250 people who are being laid off, and we have to get over to TeleTech while they’re still in a group environment and give them services to help them get into different jobs.”
In 2010, Cordes said T-Mobile also discussed pulling out of TeleTech’s facility in Amherst Township, but the company stayed for two more years.
Cordes said the state offered some money for training two years ago in hopes the company would stay, but he does not know if the training money was ever used.
Cordes said TeleTech does not receive property tax abatement or other county tax breaks.
Amherst Mayor David Taylor said his community won’t lose income tax dollars because the facility is in the township, not the city of Amherst.
However, Taylor said some restaurants in town likely will feel the effect of the loss.
“I feel badly for the people being laid off and badly for the county,” Taylor said.
TeleTech’s letter to public officials including the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services stated that the employees were being notified Tuesday of the layoffs.
The letter stated that TeleTech provides customer service to the customers of its corporate clients, and a client at the Amherst Township facility wants to take over customer service itself.
“Unfortunately, current business needs are forcing our client to reassess its overall outsourcing arrangement and to switch to an internal customer service solution,” the letter stated.
Also losing his job is 18-year-old Joseph Heimann, of Lorain, who said he won’t get unemployment because he was only on the job two months.
Heimann said he is an engineering student at Lorain County Community College and was thrilled to get the $9.25-an-hour job with benefits.
“I’d love to find something else, but it took months to find this job,” he said. “I feel everything I learned there will help me find another job.”
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.