Google to cut 4,000 jobs at Motorola unit

August 13, 2012 7:33:38 PM PDT
Motorola Mobility, a cell phone company now owned by Google, plans to cut 4,000 jobs, one fifth of its total workforce.

The move comes just weeks after the company announced it was moving its headquarters to downtown Chicago, and it is the latest of several job actions by the company.

Last year, Motorola got $11.6 million in tax credits from the state. The company's planned layoff is expected to bring the number of local employees below the promised 2,500. 700 of the lost jobs are expected to be in Chicago.

While the company, state and city work the potential numbers of the realigned company, employees and former employees are left trying to balance their household budgets. The Danielsons are making it work for now. Janet took on a second job and Mike has had only a couple of temporary jobs since his layoff from Motorola in 2008.

"It's very hard, and jobs are very specific in what they want; and a lot of places, I see them advertising but they've never gotten back to me," said Mike Danielson.

Mike Danielson knows the stress for currently Motorola employees - wondering if they will be next.

"When you know X number of people are going to be cut and you don't know if it's you or not, that's a horrible thing to go through," said Danielson.

Motorola Mobility was bought by Google. As part of a global realignment, the company had previously announced plans to move its headquarters to Chicago's Merchandise Mart.

"While Motorola expects this strategy to create new opportunities and help return its mobile devices unit to profitability, it understands how hard these changes will be for the employees concerned," the company said in a statement.

The reduction in workforce in Illinois means the company will not get millions of dollars in tax credits.

"The promise was that they'd keep those jobs... here in Libertyville; that's already changed, they now are moving to the city, so that's one broken promise," said Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler. "I don't think they should be allowed to keep tax incentives if they are not going live up to their agreement."

As companies realign, outplacement specialist John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas sees the impact on employees.

"These are often no-fault job cuts; hasn't been anybody who has done anything wrong, it's just the company just has too many people in the merged operation," said John Challenger.

Motorola says they will offer affected employees severance packages and outplacement assistance.

Even with that transitional help, the challenges to find full-time employment remain for anyone entering the workforce now.


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