Finding information on layoffs and shifts in production is not as straightforward as one might hope. Companies often downplay layoffs in one area while highlighting job growth in another. This blog provides some real-life tips from the field on finding that information and using it to help identify impacted workers.

By:  Virginia Navigator Trade Team

Everyone wants to brag about the positive things happening in their lives… thus the arrival of Social Media. 

Companies are no different.  Therefore, we must look for information where they brag.  Why would they brag about a reduction in force?  Where would they brag about layoffs? 

Although layoffs are detrimental to our communities, they can be positive for the areas of hiring. If you can identify where the company is increasing the labor force or the company contracted to provide the article or service, look for an increase in hiring in that location for like or similar positions as the affected positions.  Below are examples of offshored location hiring platforms:

The other place companies brag is in the media where the expansion is occurring. Workers can often provide information on the location of production facilities manufacturing the same or similar products. Although newspaper circulation is down in the US, newspapers remain a strong source of information in developing countries. Start by conducting an online search for English newspapers in the country of suspected expansion.  If unable to locate an article that shows expansion in an English paper, start to search in the language of that country.  Although this is more challenging, it is an avenue to peruse especially if you have workers identifying a specific location.

“Harley-Davidson plans Thailand factory to serve Southeast Asian market.” May 25, 2017 Reuters

Trade publications circulated within an industry are also very helpful since the reach of these publications is often global.  The company is able to show off new facilities, grand opening, or expansion without backlash. 

 “Utility Opens Support Facilities on Mexican Border” Transport Topics 3/25/2019 Piedras Negras, Coahuila Mexico.

Translation of these articles using www.googletranslate.com can provide you with valuable information on the company and the offshoring of the goods or services once supplied in your community.

Look at company publications such as catalogs. Most of these provide manufacturing locations of the product. I have seen products discontinued in the US now listing another country of origin with only slight modifications. Additionally, companies will include information on their websites pertaining to the location of all facets of their company. Look for statements like, “Arizona run, Philippine based call center…”

Corporations also brag in different ways to their stockholders.  In order to encourage stockholders to invest more money in the company, corporations use positive language to demonstrate a reduction in force such as: “shift in global headcount”, “human capital reallocation” and “shift in services”.  A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirement is that publicly traded companies must provide stockholders an avenue to ask questions. This is accomplished with the quarterly earnings conference call. These transcripts are stored on several websites including Seeking Alpha (https://seekingalpha.com/) and The Motley Fool (https://www.fool.com/).  For other SEC filing documents available on a company, you can look on the SEC website (https://www.sec.gov/).

Example: “A business project has been initiated to consolidate US and UK product repair activities to the UK Service Center for the purpose of simplification, harmonization and cost reduction.”

As I stated in the beginning, Social Media is where we go to brag about the positives in our lives. It is also where we turn to inform the public about injustice.  Look at the company’s Facebook page; someone may have posted a picture of them training workers in another country. Review posts on YouTube for information regarding company happenings posted by employees.  TheLayoff.com is a discussion board for affected workers to share company layoff news. DailyJobCuts.com lists nationwide corporate layoffs, as does AmINext.com

Remember!  Information found on hiring platforms, media segments, company publications, Securities and Exchange Commission documents and social media reinforces and provides support for your Trade Petition filing.