About 325 jobs were jettisoned with effective dates in June and July, according to a review of state government records. The companies involved in the reductions were in a wide array of industries: subprime mortgage financing, hospital staffing, assisted-care living for seniors and coffee manufacturing.
The job losses underscored the unsettling reality that layoffs can batter the East Bay despite the generally healthy employment market in the region.
The companies involved in the newest round of job reductions were Sara Lee Foodservice, Summerville Senior Living, TeamHealth Inc. and WMC-GEMB Mortgage Corp., official filings with the state's Employment Development Department showed.
The employment cuts jolted the Tri-Valley the hardest. But employment losses also came in Hayward:
The four employers said they had severance agreements in place, as well as other programs designed to help the displaced workers find new jobs or obtain training for new careers.
The companies involved in the staff reductions gave varying reasons for letting employees go.
For instance, WMC-GEMB Mortgage said the slump
"WMC is a business that caters to the subprime market," said Gene Ullrich, a spokesman for WMC Mortgage, which is owned by a unit of General Electric Co. "The action was a reflection of the current environment in subprime lending."
The WMC-GEMB employees were notified in April about the job reductions, which officially were completed this week. Besides the 103 workers in San Ramon, WMC dismissed 255 workers in Burbank and 59 in Costa Mesa, state records show.
Sara Lee Foodservice, a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corp., has decided to close a Hayward factory that makes roast and ground coffee. It also will trim operations at a nearby distribution center in the same city.
"We are being affected by the overall market for roast and ground coffee used in food service," said Kathleen Gilgunn, a Sara Lee spokeswoman. "That market has been in decline for some time."
The problems specifically arise from slumping demand by restaurants and other business establishments for coffee, Gilgunn said. The Hayward factory doesn't make coffee for the home consumer market.
About 50 jobs are being lost because of the closing of the Sara Lee factory. An additional 20 are being lost because of a reduction in operations at the distribution center, which will continue to operate, Gilgunn said. She did not know how many jobs will remain at that complex.
Sara Lee said it will put the 58,000-square-foot factory building up for sale once it closes.
The high cost of doing business in California, coupled with building costs in the Bay Area, prompted TeamHealth to close a billing center in Livermore, said Tracy Young, a vice president with TeamHealth. The company provides workers and administrators for hospitals, she said.
"Our overhead costs had increased 35 percent in recent years," Young said. "Labor costs, building costs and so forth were out of alignment with our other billing centers. So we had to make the decision to close this billing facility."
Most of the 84 workers affected are losing their jobs. A few will move to jobs with the company in Tennessee, where TeamHealth has its headquarters, she said.
Despite the Livermore shutdown, TeamHealth intends to keep open its offices in Pleasanton, where the company's regional operations are based, Young said.
The loss of 67 jobs at Summerville Senior Living was triggered by the sale of Summerville to Emeritus Assisted Living, a Seattle-based company is in the senior assisted living business. The two companies combined will have $700 million in yearly sales and the newly constituted Emeritus will operate 284 assisted living communities in 36 states.
But the purchase by Emeritus of Summerville rendered the San Ramon staff and headquarters of Summerville largely redundant.
About 12 of the workers will move to Seattle. Five already have left Summerville for other employment opportunities, said Melanie Werdel, a Summerville spokeswoman. But in a hopeful sign, it appears other employers are eager to hire some of the workers who are losing their jobs.
"We're getting a lot of calls from employers who might want to hire our people," Werdel said. "That's going to be helpful."
George Avalos covers the job market, insurance, petroleum and banks. Reach him at 925-977-8477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.