More layoffs at WearGuard in Norwell

Dana Forsythe

After announcing plans to move much of its manufacturing operation earlier this year, the Ararmark Corporation announced this past week that it will cut 118 jobs at the WearGuard apparel plant in Norwell at the end of the month.

The cuts, which will be effective Dec. 31, affect 58 distribution jobs at the Norwell site, 42 manufacturing jobs and a handful of support staff, according to Aramark spokeswoman Sarah Jarvis.

“While never an easy decision, Aramark is committed to treating those who are leaving with dignity and respect, and doing as much as we can to ease their transition,” said Jarvis.

Nearly a year ago, in January, the WearGuard-Crest plant on Longwater Drive cut 72 jobs.

In April of this year, Aramark announced it would be “streamlining operations” at WearGuard-Crest by transferring many of its operations, located in Norwell and Hanover, out of state in the following 18 months.

At the time, Jarvis said that Aramark was looking to maintain a presence in the community, with some of the key support operations, such as merchandising, finance and human resources, marketing and information technology to remain in the area.

The reorganization, she said at the time, came as a result of a lengthy review of the company’s operations.

It remains unclear how many Aramark workers would remain after the layoffs, but Jarvis said this week the company will maintain a presence in Norwell.

“WearGuard-Crest will exit the mail order business and will begin with the transition of core business operations from the two locations in Massachusetts – Norwell and Hanover – to company facilities located in Reno, Nevada and Salem, Virginia,” she added in a statement.

The company’s distribution center, located in a Hanover warehouse, will also be moved out of state. Its lease expires in January, 2010.

Prior to this round of layoffs, WearGuard-Crest employed approximately 700 staff working in Norwell, Hanover and Salem, Va., Jarvis said.

Aramark, which also operates corporate catering and stadium concession businesses, reported total sales of $3.2 billion for the quarter that ended on Jan. 2, 2009, down 5 percent from the same period in the previous year.

Uniform and career apparel sales totaled $429.7 million in that same period, down from $447 million the previous year.