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 user 2009-01-28 at 3:54:49 pm Views: 78
  • #20908
    HP cutting 150 to 200 jobs
    Layoffs, shift of work overseas call into question firm’s future in Vancouver
    Co. is in the process of laying off at least 150 Vancouver workers, and
    possibly more than 200, as it scraps its local Edgeline printer team
    and shrinks other engineering groups.

    Coupled with HP’s effort
    to find a buyer for its 174-acre campus at 18110 S.E. 34th St, these
    moves call into question the company’s long-term plans in
    Vancouver.Once one of the engines of Clark County’s economy, the Palo
    Alto, Calif.-based tech firm employed more than 3,300 people in
    Vancouver at its peak in the late 1990s, and remains one of the top
    paying companies around. Many workers earn close to or more than
    $100,000 a year.But from 1,800 Vancouver workers in 2005, HP’s local
    staffing levels may be down to 650 at the end of this round of layoffs,
    according to a laid-off employee.These most recent cuts, verified
    through federal labor documents and interviews with affected workers,
    come on top of hundreds of layoffs of marketing and engineering
    employees over the past two years.

    HP “is shifting prototype
    testing, as well as some work on research designs, engineering
    specifications and drawings, abroad, including to Singapore,” according
    to U.S. Department of Labor documents. This inkjet lab move will affect
    at least 52 Vancouver employees, a labor official said.

    work done by HP’s Vancouver-based Edgeline Development and Operations
    Group will also move overseas, according to other documents. This will
    affect at least 93 Vancouver employees, who work for HP and for 15
    related contract staffing agencies, the Labor official said.The local
    cuts are actually much higher than the official figures, according to a
    contract worker who has been informed that he is losing his job.
    “Approximately 180 contract workers have been notified that their
    positions have been eliminated, most of them have already been
    dismissed,” he said.HP is also cutting 60 jobs at its sister site in
    Corvallis, Ore., according to federal Labor Department figures.HP
    officials declined to comment on the local and Oregon cuts, but did
    issue a written statement confirming that the company’s Imaging and
    Printing Division, which includes Vancouver, is shifting jobs amongst
    sites.“The realignment of IPG’s business entails shifting resources
    from slower growing businesses to new business opportunities,” the
    statement said. “In some cases, parts of IPG’s business will experience
    reductions while investments will be made in high growth segments of
    the business.”

    Pay contrasts
    Employees of HP are taking the
    news as a blow, especially following reports by the Reuters news agency
    that Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Mark Hurd received compensation of
    $42.5 million in 2008.“Nobody is worth $45.2 million for one year of
    employment,” said a laid-off worker, who said he was disgusted by
    Hurd’s high salary at a time when employees have seen pay frozen and
    jobs cut.On the bright side, many laid-off workers can receive extra
    unemployment benefits and assistance through the Trade Adjustment
    Assistance Program.This program covers expenses associated with the job
    search process, can help cover the cost of relocation, and will cover
    the cost of retraining for some employees. It also extends the length
    of time that laid-off workers can receive unemployment insurance
    payments to as many as 130 weeks, depending on individual
    circumstances.Many laid-off workers were briefed on these benefits at a
    Jan. 15 meeting with state Employment Security Department officials.

    Ripple effect
    they head to the WorkSource Center instead of day jobs, a ripple effect
    is beginning to be felt around HP’s east Vancouver neighborhood, where
    the average household income is about $70,000.Fewer HP regulars have
    been showing up at Quiznos over the past month or two, said Heidi
    Grunau, a crew member at the sub shop a few blocks east of HP’s
    Vancouver.Grunau, who works the lunch shift Sunday through Friday at
    Quiznos, said the restaurant regularly serves workers from the nearby
    operations of tech companies HP, Sharp and WaferTech. Customers from HP
    have openly talked about layoffs taking place at the Vancouver campus
    for the past two months, she said.Three decades ago, HP and Tektronix
    were among the first large employers to build in a mostly rural east
    Vancouver, and seemed destined to be among the county’s largest
    employers.Tektronix pulled out in the mid-1980s, and HP began to shrink
    in 1999, when it eliminated printer manufacturing and laid off 1,000

    In their place, however, has grown a diverse east Clark
    County employment base. In addition to large high-tech companies like
    Sharp, WaferTech and SEH America, businesses large and small have
    filled the bustling Columbia Tech Center.Hewlett-Packard’s diminished
    clout in Clark County marks more than a shift for the community that
    grew around it. It also represents shifts in the history of the inkjet
    printer.Inkjets were first invented through a collaboration between HP
    engineers in Vancouver and Corvallis, and first manufactured in Clark
    County. But the competition has caught up, making consumer printers a
    cutthroat industry. People are buying fewer printers, printing less and
    buying less ink from HP.Vancouver workers have said they feel that HP’s
    growth plans center around computer programs and business support
    packages, and that there are fewer opportunities for inkjet printer
    engineers to advance within the company.Now HP seems to be shifting
    those development opportunities that do still exist abroad, far from
    where these products were first born.