iQor call center operations will close Aug. 30, putting 300 people out of work at the Klamath Falls site, the company announced Monday.
In an email to the Herald and News, iQor Vice President of Marketing Robert Constantine of St. Petersburg, said, “As we have discussed, our Executive and Sales leadership teams have worked hard to secure another client in Klamath Falls. Despite our best efforts, factors outside of our control will not permit us to maintain our operations in Klamath Falls.”
iQor had a contract with a vendor until the start of the summer. With that contract ending there is no new vendor available that needs the call center, though iQor had been negotiating with one early in the summer and was confident it would be awarded a contract.
“The decision to close Klamath Falls has been difficult given the skills and commitment of the employees at the site. Our Operations and Human Resource teams are working closely with affected team members to assist them in their transition to new employment opportunities. We will be closing our operations in Klamath Falls on August 30, 2019.”
Workers may be able to transfer to other iQor jobs, but they are located elsewhere throughout the United States, Constantine said.
Meanwhile, the building is up for sale and is listed for $5 million under Cushman and Wakefield industrial realtors headquartered in Chicago.
The Klamath County Economic Development Association said in a statement, “Our offices have been closely monitoring and working with several stakeholders involved with this situation. In that time, we learned that the iQor decision has been reached due to factors beyond our market’s control.
“We are confident that the closing of this operation is not indicative of the strength of this economy, as our offices continue to see growing activity,” KCEDA said.
KCEDA has already begun work with Cushman Wakefield to market the property, and will be collaborating closely with local leadership to ensure there are smooth transitions for workers affected by this decision, KCEDA said.
Most of the iQor jobs pay minimum wage. The company declined to say how much its annual payroll is. Employees will be paid regular wages through the date of their separation and will receive severance pay if they stay on until the layoff takes effect.
“The City is saddened to see iQor closing for reasons outside of our community’s control,” said City Manager Nathan Cherpeski in an email. “We are especially saddened for the workers who will be impacted.
“We will continue to work with KCEDA and other economic development partners to bring new employers to the Basin and to support local businesses.
“We continue to see increased activity in our community and do not believe this is indicative or our local market,” Cherpeski said.
This is not the first time the center had layoffs and it usually happens when a customer contract ends with the call center. The center was initially an Asurion contact center, a customer and product support business center. It, too, had layoffs throughout its history in Klamath Falls. Asurion transferred to iQor, a global provider of outsourced business solutions, on Dec. 1, 2016.
iQor issued a WARN statement to all of its staff in June, notifying employees that without a new work contract, the staff would be laid off and the site permanently closed down. A WARN is a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification under U.S. labor law which protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 calendar-day advance notification of closing or layoffs.
The single building is 43,000 square feet, on over 23 acres of land. The property sits on a hillside at the end of New Way, which is just east of state Highway 97. There are several retail and professional businesses near the property, including: Sky Lakes Medical Center, ESI Electronics, Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors, and Oregon Institute of Technology.
The area is generally known as Tech Hills. It is hoped that it can be developed into a technology center.
“We are grateful to the City of Klamath Falls and most importantly our amazing team members for their many years of service, passion to be the best and mostly for being part of our family,” Constantine said.
“iQor has a number of positions available, albeit in alternate locations across the United States, for those who are interested in remaining with iQor as we wind down our operations in Klamath Falls. We appreciate your support and thoughtfulness throughout this difficult time,” he said.