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1989’s First Big County Layoff Targets 300 at Credit Company

Times Staff Writer

In the first major Orange County layoff this year, Monogram Retailer Credit Services said it will close its Fullerton office within the next 3 months and eliminate about 300 jobs.

Monogram, which services credit accounts for Montgomery Ward Credit, is expected to close its doors within the first quarter of 1989, according to company spokesman Mike Muraszko. Customer service and collections functions will be moved from Fullerton to locations in Walnut Creek, Calif., and Merriam, Kan.

“There are about 300 employees affected,” Muraszko said Thursday. “Some of those employees will be moved to those locations (in Walnut Creek and Merriam). The number is not determined yet. We’re still talking to employees, and there are a lot of things to be considered personally by them.”

As part of its severance package, Monogram is offering the laid-off workers either 60 days’ notice or a severance bonus in lieu of notice. In addition, workers will receive a week’s pay for each year of service, with a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 26.

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Muraszko said the 60 days’ notice was not affected by the federal plant-closing law that went into effect Jan. 1. The new law stipulates that companies with 100 or more full-time employees at any single site are required to notify workers of any plant closings 60 days before the shutdown if 50 or more workers would lose their jobs. Enforcement of the law will not begin until Feb. 4.

Technology--or the lack--is to blame for Monogram’s shutdown, company officials said. Computer equipment at the Merriam and Walnut Creek sites far surpasses the system in place at the Fullerton site, so the business is following the technology.

“By realigning operations, we will be able to take full advantage of the state-of-the-art technology we have put in place,” Robert A. Watson, Monogram’s president, said in a prepared statement. “We can then more effectively provide our merchants and their customers with the best possible service.”

Monogram and Montgomery Ward Credit are affiliates of GE Capital, which is General Electric Corp.'s financial-services subsidiary.

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The first major layoff of 1989 came about 3 weeks sooner than its 1988 counterpart. The first employee furlough of 1988 did not occur until Jan. 28, when Sorbus Inc. eliminated 100 jobs at its former service center in Tustin, after selling the operation to MAI Basic Four, also of Tustin.


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