Boise call center will close, costing hundreds of jobs in largest Idaho layoff since 2018

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 18:18:18-05

This article was originally published by Don Day in BoiseDev.

Sykes, a provider of outsourced call center solutions, told the State of Idaho it will close its Boise plant, leaving about 370 people without a job.

The company notified the Idaho Department of Labor of the pending closure under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The cuts include 310 customer service agents, 20 team leaders, and a variety of other positions.

“We are permanently closing our entire site located at 11331 W Chinden Blvd., Boise, ID 83714, which will result in a permanent loss for the employees working at that facility,” Sykes VP of of Human Resources Donna Bluestone wrote in a letter to the state. “

The company said it would work to transition employees to its home-based Sykes Home work arrangement, but said they do not know “which, if any, employees may be offered this option.”

Bluestone also said in her letter the company could bring back some employees if it attracted new business.

Skyes said employees would work through March 31st.

Largest layoff since 2018

“We are reaching out to the company to see about meeting and talking with the affected employees about the services and programs we offer – job search and resume assistance, interview prep, access to training programs, unemployment insurance – to help them through the transition and find their next job,” Georgia Smith with the Idaho Department of Labor told BoiseDev.

With 370 positions eliminated, the layoff represents the largest reported to the State of Idaho for any company since July of 2018. That layoff also came from Sykes, which cut 640 people from the Chinden Blvd. site, which BoiseDev reported at the time.

We asked the Boise Mayor’s office for a reaction to the news. Lauren McLean’s spokesperson Seth Ogilvie said the city is “doing everything” it can to help businesses weather the pandemic.

“We never want to see even one job loss, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that Boise remains a great place for our businesses and their employees to grow and thrive,” Ogilvie said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the Boise area stood at 4.9% as of November. That rate is higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 2.6%, reported in March of 2020 – but also well lower than the 12.3% reported in April, 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.