Hale-Halsell laying off workers

Wednesday, January 21st 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

New job cuts in Tulsa. Another major Tulsa employer announces layoffs.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg explains why Hale-Halsell is letting workers go.

Founded before statehood, Hale-Halsell has survived more than 100 years of ups and downs. However, employees say the grocery wholesaler told them Wednesday morning that it has to tighten its belt. "They didn't know for sure, they're just going to lay off a bunch of people tomorrow, everything's still up in the air."

Worried workers say the company did not make it clear exactly what was going on. "Just that the company's run into some financial problems and some of their customers have backed out."

In a written statement, Hale-Halsell said it had lost its principal customer, which accounted for 40% of Hale-Halsell's business. Hale-Halsell also said it will lay off roughly 200 workers, out of what workers estimate is about 300 at their main warehouse on East Pine. But they do not know who.

"Well, my daughter's birthday is Saturday, and now I gotta figure out a way to buy her something for her birthday. They told us we'd be notified within 24 hours if we still had a job and basically that's it.”

Some workers say they're doing the only they can do. "I've got the want ads in my lunch kit here."

Hale-Halsell is also the parent company of Git N' Go and operates about 120 of the convenience stores, but there is no word if this will have any effect on them.

The company doesn't say who the lost customer is, but they say they were dropped with little warning, and that the customer had refused to even talk to them.