Metco Landscape notified the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on Monday that it has let go of 343 workers across five locations at the end of July.
The largest layoffs involved 165 workers at its headquarters at 2200 Rifle St. in Aurora, including 95 laborers, 27 foremen, and several administrative and executive positions, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter filed with the labor department.
Another 44 workers were let go at its Aurora facility at 17601 E. 23rd Ave.; 60 job cuts occurred at the company’s Arvada facility at 5503 Marshall St. and another 38 employees were dismissed at the company’s Englewood branch at 1325 W. Quincy Ave. The fifth layoff of 36 workers happened at the company’s Colorado Springs location at 1310 Ford St.
Employers are typically required to provide workers with at least 60 days notice before a mass layoff, but the WARN letters filed cited “unforeseen business circumstances.” Metco notified workers they were losing their jobs on July 28, the same day it terminated their employment.
“Metco could not provide notice any further in advance due to significant and recent unforeseeable losses incurred by a competitor’s actions to target Metco’s ongoing business and employee base, several outstanding accounts being unrecoverable, and decreases in demand related to reduced housing starts,” Metco CEO Paul Tudor wrote to the state.
Efforts to reach Tudor directly and the company’s human resources department for more details were unsuccessful. At the end of last year, Atar Capital, a Los Angeles investment firm, acquired Metco Landscape, which it described as the largest privately-owned landscaping firm in Colorado.
“It is highly unusual, especially given that there is much more work out there than our companies can handle, especially with the continual worker shortage we are experiencing. I know other landscape companies are already recruiting Metco employees,” said John McMahon, CEO of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, an industry trade group.
McMahon said Metco had made several business “pivots” under its new owners, including working on a rebranding effort earlier this year that it pulled back from. Under past ownership, Metco had been an engaged member of the landscaping industry and a thought leader in Colorado and nationally.
“A more normal approach in this scenario is to have a buyout out or merger. It’s pretty puzzling for us and some of our board members. I don’t know the whole backstory, but apparently, immediate liquidation was what they felt was the best solution,” he said.
Given that the landscape business continues to struggle with finding enough workers, the displaced workers shouldn’t have any trouble finding employment, McMahon said. He advised anyone looking for a new position to visit his group’s job website.
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