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Technology Some layoffs at MEC but more permanent staff to be hired, CEO says in restructuring plan

08:15  21 january  2020
08:15  21 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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More MEC staff will be hired full- and part-time instead of working on a casual basis, according to a new statement by the CEO . (Ben Nelms/CBC). MEC has been struggling and recently went through arbitration after workers at its Vancouver and Victoria stores became the first in its network to unionize.

But clearly they are hiring much more than at any other time in modern history, for two reasons. Track the percentage of openings filled from within. An adage of business is that we manage what we measure, but companies don’t seem to be applying that maxim to tracking hires .

Vancouver's Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) store is restructuring how it merchandises and staffs its 22 outlets across Canada.© Provided by cbc.ca Vancouver's Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) store is restructuring how it merchandises and staffs its 22 outlets across Canada.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is laying off some of its 2,400 employees — but offering permanent positions to many of its casual workers — as it restructures in a bid to restore its financial health.

The outdoor retailer, which lost more than $11 million in the past fiscal year, is aiming to cut costs, and change what it stocks and how it staffs, according to an online statement from CEO Phil Arrata.

The statement was released after the company's 22 stores across Canada were shut down on Sunday afternoon for a nationwide all-staff meeting, according to employees at several outlets. Store managers read a statement outlining the new direction Arrata plans to take MEC.

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Some economists say they are concerned that the layoffs and the drought of consumer confidence combine in a vicious circle. "The critical issue for the 1990's is going to be job security, as more and more people are squeezed by the restructuring in services," said Stephen Roach, an economist at

Restructuring is the corporate management term for the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company for the purpose of making it more profitable, or better organized for its present needs.

In some stores that meant a handful of layoffs. MEC declined to confirm a total number.

But in his statement, Arrata said the co-op would move away from using casual employees and hire more permanent staff to cut down on staff and sharpen customer service.

More than 950 casual staff will be given full- or part-time jobs, with benefits, Arrata said.

"While MEC is not profit-driven in the same way as the retailers we compete against, we still must be profitable to ensure we deliver great service to our members," Arrata said, citing the retailer's co-op model, in an open letter to staff posted online Jan. 20.

MEC also plans to sublet its $28-million head office on Great Northern Way in Vancouver.

MEC has been struggling and recently went through arbitration after workers at its Vancouver and Victoria stores became the first in its network to unionize. Employees were seeking better wages and working conditions.

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Aol, owner of TechCrunch, is gearing up for some housekeeping. TechCrunch has learned that the company is preparing to lay off staff and close or fold up underperforming titles as To be clear: while TechCrunch is part of Aol, we on the editorial side are not privy to what happens at a corporate level.

How many staff members are being asked to go as part of this restructuring and across which roles? When is this likely to be completed? The internal team that was set up is constantly monitoring the outreach to companies that are hiring including partner companies and companies in the start up eco

Arrata, the former chief financial officer at Best Buy Canada, joined MEC in the summer of 2019 and said he was given the mandate to infuse the chain with more profitability.

"I think we could take on the competition. I think we could do better," he told CBC in a recent interview.

MEC reported an $11.5-million net loss on $462.4 million in sales in 2018/19.

The outdoor retailer is facing increasing competition from online giants such as Amazon and Walmart, as well as Canadian Tire, Sport Chek and the French sporting goods chain Decathlon, which has outlets in Quebec and Ontario..

a couple of green street signs sitting on top of a bench: More MEC staff will be hired full- and part-time instead of working on a casual basis, according to a new statement by the CEO.© Provided by cbc.ca More MEC staff will be hired full- and part-time instead of working on a casual basis, according to a new statement by the CEO.

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