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Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Page updated at 02:30 p.m.
Security workers laid off at Amazon
By Melissa Allison
Seattle Times business reporter
Close to 200 security personnel were laid off when Amazon.com switched security contractors a few weeks ago, and workers say the company that lost the contract -- Andrews International of Valencia, Calif. -- gave them less than two weeks' notice.
That appears to be a violation of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires companies to notify workers 60 days before a lay off affecting 100 or more employees.
Andrews says it assumed the new contractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS) of Culver City, Calif., would hire its security officers at Amazon.com. That is typical in the security industry, Andrews general counsel Michelle Harkavy said.
"In the 20 years I've worked for security companies, I have never filed a WARN notice, because employees have always been hired by the new service provider," Harkavy said.
Andrews notified workers as soon as it lost the contract, she said. She also said the company was in touch with the union representing them.
Tania Maria Rosario, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union Local 6, which represents the workers, said it has contacted Andrews repeatedly and heard nothing back, including that there were layoffs.
She also is not sure how many security officers worked for Andrews at Amazon when the layoff happened in late July.
Based on employment figures from several months ago, Rosario estimated 187 people were laid off. At the union's last count, new contractor SIS hired nine workers; Andrews retained 32 workers at Amazon buildings; and Andrews reassigned one part-time worker to another job.
"I was just shocked," said Kristina Gayotin, who worked with Andrews for almost two years as a security officer at Amazon. She participated in a rally Tuesday at the online retailer's headquarters in South Lake Union to bring attention to the situation.
"I came to work one morning and was given a piece of paper saying I had six hours to apply for a job at SIS," said Gayotin, who has more than 12 years of security experience. The link given to Andrews workers was broken when she finally tried to apply, so she applied directly through SIS's website, but she said she heard nothing back.
Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or email@example.com. Twitter @AllisonSeattle.