Am I Next? Layoffs at Staples



After its acquisition on September 12, 2017, by New York-based Sycamore Partners for $6.9 billion, multinational office supplies retailer Staples, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, laid off 177 workers, said to be mostly IT employees.  


From the TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) paperwork submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, by a “Workforce Specialist” in Broomfield, Colorado, it is suggested that many of these jobs were outsourced to a foreign vendor.  

The Trade Act of 1974 (19 USC § 2271 et seq.), as amended, established Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to provide assistance to workers in firms hurt by foreign trade. Program benefits include long-term training while receiving income support. TAA provides both rapid and early assistance. Filing this petition is the first step in qualifying for TAA benefits and assistance. After the petition is filed, the U.S. Department of Labor will determine whether a significant number or proportion of the workers of the firm have become totally or partially separated or are threatened to become totally or partially separated, and whether imports or a shift in production or services to a foreign country contributed importantly to these actual or threatened separations and to a decline in sales or in production of articles or supply of services.  

The company refuses to comment, releasing only a terse statement. “We are strategically restructuring our organization in order to support the needs of our customers and align with our business priorities. As a matter of policy, we do not discuss staffing figures.” 

Many Staples employees are said to be fearing the one-year anniversary of the acquisition when existing agreements containing severance provisions may expire.  

The new Staples owner, Sycamore Partners, also owns other retailers such as Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Nine West, and Talbots. 

Ironically, on October 14, 2016, Staples posted an article on its website touting the benefits of outsourcing. “Business outsourcing can sometimes seem like a daunting strategy that adds more moving pieces to your business. However, when done correctly, it can add layers of expertise, release you from tedious chores and let you concentrate on running your business more effectively.”

Are you asking yourself, Am I Next?


 Am I Next? Mass Layoffs and Restructuring at PPG Industries



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based PPG Industries, a Fortune 500 company and global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials to industrial, commercial, and retail sectors, has announced further restructuring which will result in the loss of at least 1,000 positions. The layoffs were attributed to rising materials costs and the loss of a "major customer. 

Costs Associated with Exit or Disposal Activities.

"On April 23, 2018, PPG Industries, Inc. (the “Company”) approved a business restructuring plan which includes actions to reduce its global cost structure. The program is in response to a customer assortment change in our U.S. architectural coatings business during the first quarter 2018 and sustained elevated raw material inflation." 

"The program aims to further right-size employee headcount and production capacity in certain businesses based on current product demand, as well as reductions in various global functional and administrative costs." 

"A pre-tax restructuring charge of $80 million to $85 million, based on current exchange rates, will be recorded in PPG's second quarter 2018 financial results, of which about $75 million to $80 million represents employee severance and other cash costs. The remainder of the charge represents the write-down of certain assets and other non-cash costs. In addition, other cash costs of up to $35 million to $40 million will be incurred, consisting of incremental restructuring-related cash costs for certain items that are required to be expensed on an as-incurred basis of approximately $15 million and approximately $20 million to $25 million for items which are expected to be capitalized. The Company also expects approximately $15 million of incremental non-cash accelerated depreciation expense for certain assets due to their reduced expected asset life as a result of this program. Substantially all restructuring actions are expected to be complete by the end of the second quarter 2019 and will result in the net reduction of approximately 1,100 positions. The Company expects the cash payback of the restructuring program to be less than two years."

PPG is also reporting financial discrepancies to the SEC …

"As previously disclosed on April 19, 2018, PPG received a report through its internal reporting system alleging violations of PPG’s accounting policies and procedures regarding the failure to accrue certain specified expenses in the first quarter of 2018. Based on its initial review at that time, PPG identified approximately $1.4 million of expenses (including legal fees, property taxes and performance-based compensation) that should have been accrued in the first quarter of 2018 and that were then reflected in PPG’s earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 released on April 19, 2018. In addition, the report alleged that there may have been other unspecified expenses, potentially up to $5 million in the aggregate, that were improperly not accrued in the first quarter." 

"The Company is working diligently to complete its investigation, but is currently unable to predict the timing or outcome of the investigation. PPG has self-reported information concerning this investigation to the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of the ongoing investigation, PPG will not be able to file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 by the deadline of May 10, 2018 and has filed a Form 12b-25 Notification of Late Filing. PPG is currently unable to predict when it will be able to file its Quarterly Report." 

Are you asking yourself, Am I Next?