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Mass layoffs top 1,500 in Illinois February report shows

Updated: April 10, 2012 11:19AM



Eleven companies have notified the state they have cut or plan to axe more than 1,500 workers in mass layoffs in Illinois by the end of May, including Niketown which will temporarily close its Michigan Avenue store for renovation this month.

The February WARN report, released by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Wednesday, showed fewer mass layoffs than the 1,776 listed in the January report but more than three times as many as reported in February 2011, when 457 jobs were listed.

The report revealed Niketown plans to layoff 160 workers as it completes a renovation. It was the only employer that said the layoffs were temporary rather than permanent. Nike spokeswoman Cindy Hamilton said the store will close for remodeling March 12 and is expected to reopen this fall.

Also on the state report was Alberto Culver in Melrose Park, which listed 121 job cuts; and Playboy Enterprises, which listed 56.

Unilever, which acquired Alberto Culver last year, said in December that it planned to close the plant in 2013 and that 600 jobs would be cut or transferred.

Playboy announced in December it was moving the bulk of its operations, including editorial, art and photo departments, from founder Hugh Hefner’s original home base in Chicago to Los Angeles.

Among the biggest cuts in the Chicago metropolitan area disclosed in the report are 148 workers at Appetizers And Inc., a frozen specialty food manufacturer in Chicago, 132 workers at MetLife in Itasca and Oak Brook and 131 workers at Equable Ascent Financial, a collection agency in Buffalo Grove.

Under the so-called Illinois WARN Act — Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act — employers are required to give workers, their unions and the state advance notice of mass layoffs. A mass layoff is defined as 250 or more full-time employees or 25 or more full-time employees if they constitute one-third or more of the full-time employees at the site.

Other employers disclosing permanent job cuts were StarTrek USA Inc. in Decatur with 258, Archer Daniels Midland Company in Decatur with 207, Olin Corp. in East Alton with 104, TSC Global in Rock Island with 98 and Central Garden and Pet in Elk Grove Village with 90.



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