A petition for trade adjustment assistance was submitted on Oct. 24 to the U.S. Department of Labor to support six workers at the Citi call center in Gray, 541 Sid Martin Road, who were laid off on or around Sept. 29. The workers were part of a finance group and received notice of their dismissals in late spring. They were notified at the end of July but remained on payroll for another 60 days. The location is not closing.
According to the petition, the company is outsourcing the six positions to locations in India and Costa Rica.
“To align staffing with current business needs, Citi eliminated a small number of positions in Gray earlier this year,” the company said in a statement to the Press. “Citi has actively hired in Gray this year and plans to continue hiring in 2020.”
In a press release, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said impacted workers may be eligible for benefits, retraining and reemployment. Affected employees can contact the American Job Center in Johnson City at 423-610-0222 or in Kingsport at 423-224-1804 between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to set up an appointment.
In a statement, Hope Kinglock, a certifying officer with the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance, said all employees at the site who became “totally or partially separated from employment” on or after Oct. 24, 2018, are eligible to request services and benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, trade adjustment assistance is available to employees who lose their jobs or are in danger of losing their jobs as a result of “international trade.” Eligible petitioners include a group of three or more workers, an employer of a group of workers or a union. Benefits of the program can include job training, income support and allowances to support job searches and relocation.
After a petition is filed, the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance investigates whether the group of workers meets the eligibility requirements, according to the website. If their eligibility is certified, each affected worker must apply individually for benefits through their local American Job Center. There, case managers make a decision about each workers’ individual eligibility for benefits.
According to the Washington County website, Citi Commerce Solutions employed 1,950 people in 2010, making it the third-largest employer in the county at the time. It was between East Tennessee State University, which employed 2,330 people in 2010, and the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, which employed 1,592 people.
The No. 1 employer in the county at the time was Mountain States Health Alliance with 3,541 employees. Mountain States has since merged with Wellmont Health System to create Ballad Health.
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