Fewer North Bay employers report layoffs, but number of job cuts climbs

The over 600 job losses in the last six months include the sale of wineries, exit of a medical device maker, shuttering of a health care provider and sale of a wine distributor, according to the latest filings.|

As the pandemic recedes, so has the number of North Bay businesses filing notices of job displacements through California’s WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification), according to the state Employment Development Department.

Six businesses in the North Bay have filed WARN notices in the last six months compared with more than a dozen the Business Journal reported earlier this year, according to the continually updated WARN listings.

But fewer filings don’t tell the whole story.

The total number of the most recently reported job cuts in the North Bay was 627, exceeding the nearly 350 job losses the Business Journal reported between November and January. Also of note: The most recent workforce reductions listed were permanent.

The newest WARN notice in the North Bay was filed July 1 by Francis Ford Coppola Presents LLC, which reported it will permanently lay off 90 workers on Aug. 2. The filing follows the filmmaker, vintner and hotelier’s deal to sell his Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Virginia Dare Winery brands and the facilities, as well as Archimedes Vineyard, to Napa-based Delicato Family Wines. The Business Journal reported the news on June 24, the day the transaction was announced.

Of the job cuts that already have taken place, 168 came from Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific’s Santa Rosa facility when on June 14 the global company transferred its Sonoma County operations to its facility in Coyol, Costa Rica, according to a Boston Scientific spokeswoman and the company’s WARN filing.

“In order to meet anticipated market demands for the SENTINEL Cerebral Protection System, acquired through the Claret Medical, Inc. acquisition on Aug. 2, 2018, we transferred product manufacturing from the Santa Rosa, California location to (the Costa Rica) facility within the Boston Scientific network,” spokeswoman Emily Anderson said in an email statement. “These types of moves continue to build upon our capabilities to serve global and regional health care markets and deliver life-changing technologies to a growing number of patients around the world.”

Northern California Medical Associates, which was based in Santa Rosa, shuttered operations on May 5, resulting in 151 job losses, according to its WARN filing.

The physician-owned health care provider was the largest in Sonoma County, according to The Press Democrat, which in April spoke with the now-former group’s president, Dr. Thomas Dunlap, a cardiologist.

“When COVID came along with the marked reduction in medical operations, that’s what really pushed us over the brink,” Dunlap told the outlet of the medical enterprise that started in 1975.

Also shuttering operations in Santa Rosa was Epic Ventures, Inc., doing business as Epic Wines & Spirits. The company cut 98 jobs when it permanently closed on April 9, according to its WARN filing.

The company was a distribution arm of Foley Family Wines, which sold Epic to Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits in Miami, the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, for an undisclosed price, according to a Feb. 8 report by the Business Journal.

Bill Foley, owner and founder, told The Press Democrat he was glad to get out of the distribution business because it had been “a real grind” during the pandemic. Epic had a large clientele in the restaurant industry that’s been battered the past year, he told the outlet.

In Marin County, PR1 Automotive LLC, doing business as Mercedes-Benz of Marin, closed its San Rafael operations on May 23, resulting in 68 job losses, according to its WARN filing.

In Solano County, CSAA Insurance in Fairfield filed two separate WARN notices of permanent closures, one effective April 2 and the other May 28, resulting in a total of 52 eliminated jobs.

There have been no WARN notice filings since January in Napa, Mendocino or Lake counties, according to the listings.

The state’s WARN Act requires companies that have employed at least 75 workers at their facilities in the previous year to provide 60 days’ advance notice of layoffs, terminations or business closures, according to the EDD.

When the pandemic began in March 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that temporarily suspended the 60-day deadline because of COVID-19. However, the 60-day notice requirement was reinstated on July 1, according to the state Department of Industrial Relations’ website.

Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. She previously worked for a Gannett daily newspaper in New Jersey and NJBIZ, the state’s business journal. Cheryl has freelanced for business journals in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Reach her at cheryl.sarfaty@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.

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