Losing a job just days before Christmas is a nightmare scenario for many, but it’s now a harsh reality for 27 employees at Alaska Communications Systems.
Layoffs announced this week are impacting roughly three percent of the telecom’s workforce, the majority of them in retail sales. Heather Cavanaugh, ACS’ Director of Corporate Communications, says it's a sad time to lose so many hard workers.
"The reductions were due primarily to some over-hiring that happened during recent growth periods, and we're now resuming back to more normal staffing levels," Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh says the company is doing what it can for the laid off employees, many of whom are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers labor union. IBEW's Mike Hodsdon says it’s bad timing, but the move was expected.
"If our members are in hardship as a result of something like this, they can come to us and we can evaluate their hardships," Hodsdon says.
At the Anchorage Job Center, the state is also evaluating unemployment hardships. Nancy Heckmann, a supervisor for Alaska's Department of Labor, says there are over a thousand job openings in Anchorage.
"The first thing a person should do would be to go ahead and file for the unemployment insurance," Heckmann says. "The next thing they should do is go visit the job center and get registered,” in ALEXsys, the Alaska Labor Exchange.
Filing for unemployment can be done online at the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development's unemployment website.