WaMu hands more than 9,000 workers pink slips

It had been in the works since JPMorgan Chase bought the failing Washington Mutual corporation in September, but WaMu employees Monday were finally given word on their future with the company.

According to Chase Spokesperson Christine Holevas, Chase will be letting go approximately 9,200 employees, including several thousand in Seattle. But workers in WaMu’s branch offices will not be affected by the layoffs.

“In Seattle, it’s about 3,400,” Holevas said.

Holevas noted approximately 1,500 of those Seattle-based employees received 60-day notices informing them that their positions would be cut Jan. 31. Along with the layoffs in the Puget Sound region, an additional 2,500 former WaMu employees received the immediate notices.

In addition, 5,200 other employees, including approximately 1,900 in the Seattle area, will be kept on as part of a transitional team. Those employees will be paid double during the transition (retroactive to Oct. 1), but Holevas said there was no indication the jobs would last more than one year.

“We anticipate most of these employees will be transitioned out sometime next year,” she said.

The layoffs will come mainly from the corporate side of the business. None of the branch workers will be affected by the layoffs.

“It basically affected all functions except the branch,” Holevas said.

According to Holevas, Chase has no plans to close any of the branches in the region.

“The only reason we are considering closing branches are the overlap markets,” she said. “You don’t have that in Washington.”

Holevas said career placement resources would be made available to employees who have been laid off.

WaMu workers are also receiving information from the state about unemployment benefits and job-search assistance. A series of informal sessions hosted by the state Employment Security Department begin Dec. 11 for workers facing unemployment.

Workers will learn about how to apply for unemployment benefits and receive additional information about training.

For more information about unemployment benefits and available services, visit www.esd.wa.giv/

uibenefots/whatsnew/index.php.

JPMorgan Chase acquired Washington Mutual in September for $1.9 billion.


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