Mayor: Gateway will cut 383 jobs

Mayor: Gateway will cut 383 jobs by David Lias Vermillion Mayor William Radigan informed the Plain Talk just before press time Thursday that Gateway, Inc. will eliminate 383 jobs at its Vermillion facility.

The computer manufacturing firm will be closing its emissary operation at its Vermillion location, he added.

The information was included in a letter and detailed statement received from a local Gateway official Thursday afternoon, the mayor said.

Radigan said earlier Thursday that Gateway officials phoned him Wednesday morning, and told him that the company was going to start to notify its Vermillion employees that they would be laid off their jobs.

"They also told me that they did not have specific numbers," he said. "Maybe they just didn't want to give me specific numbers."

The corporation also faxed information to the mayor, "but there wasn't a whole lot in the way of numbers in it, but in various avenues of approach here, it appears that they are pretty much going to eliminate the call service out there, and that's about three out of four people," Radigan said.

The Vermillion operation includes a call center with service technicians and a telephone sales force.

Gateway spokesman Tyson Heyn, at company headquarters in San Diego, CA, told the Plain Talk Thursday morning that the computer manufacturer has no plans to close the doors on the Vermillion facility.

"We're not closing Vermillion," he said. "We're not closing the plant."

Heyn wouldn't elaborate further on future happenings at the Vermillion establishment.

He repeated what the company has stated earlier to the media. "We have begun the process of informing the employees about the work force reduction, and that will take a couple weeks. It will affect about 10 to 12 percent of the entire work force in the entire state."

Earlier news reports stated that approximately 430 workers at the call center in Vermillion and a plant in North Sioux City face cuts. An additional 200 workers at Gateway's Sioux Falls facility are being laid off.

Heyn said he has no information yet on the number of jobs that eventually will be lost in Vermillion. "I'll be honest, it's probably going to be a couple weeks, because we don't even know ourselves, I don't think, what the final numbers are."

Radigan said earlier Thursday that he strongly believed those final numbers could total 400 in Vermillion.

"My understanding is that would probably be the maximum, and the rest will be retained here," Radigan added. "I think a few jobs are being moved back from California to North Sioux City, and I don't know what effect that will have. Hopefully, we can figure out a way of getting some of that here."

Radigan admits that information about Gateway's future in Vermillion is sketchy.

Vermillion's Gateway employees were informed Wednesday about the corporation's plans for the facility here, and reportedly were told not to publicly discuss the cutbacks.

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