Layoffs were handled in best possible way

On March 25, we received heart-wrenching news from our employer, Bank of America. As hundreds congregated together in anticipation of breaking news, whispering and side conversations of speculation filled the building. The moment the deliverer of bad news began to speak, the chitchat instantly ceased and we received the update. “Due to an improving economy, less troubled borrowers need help with their mortgages. Our jobs are being eliminated. Therefore, effective May 31, 2013, we are closing our Getzville mortgage facility, and M&T Bank will be occupying this space.”

My immediate thought was: What do I do now? As quick as the thought entered my head, we had the first of many informative meetings that brought me peace of mind. This layoff was like no other.

In an effort to reduce the unemployment rate and increase employee morale, BOA partnered with the Department of Labor. They conducted resume workshops, interview sessions and unemployment training. In addition to providing job-readiness training, the Department of Labor connected with Erie Community College North Campus to host a job fair “exclusive” to BOA employees. Elite companies such as Citigroup, GEICO, First Niagara, National Fuel, Yahoo, Life Technologies, Ingram Micro and countless more were in attendance. I visited each employer to express my gratitude.

M&T Bank has contributed tremendously during this time of uncertainty. It partnered with BOA to interview every displaced employee. The largest, fastest-growing bank in Buffalo is providing employment opportunities, while maintaining current salaries and tenure. It’s like an unemployment bailout.

Although I wasn’t one of the initial hires, I’ll never forget the exhausting interview hours and immeasurable efforts put in by M&T to make BOA employees feel valued along with instilling hope. This ray of hope is what brings me confidence as I continue to seek work, with optimism of remaining in Western New York.

Luciana Heard