Greater Philly YMCA cuts 3,400 jobs in biggest layoff in Pa.

    The Christian Street YMCA branch in South Philadelphia (Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

    By Philadelphia Tribune Staff

    PHILADELPHIA — The Greater Philadelphia YMCA has laid off the bulk of its workforce, cutting 3,400 jobs, in what appears to be the biggest layoff in the state since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

    The remaining employees have taken pay cuts, according to Greater Philadelphia YMCA and CEO Shaun Elliot.

    Revenue for the nonprofit has “plunged significantly as a result of the global pandemic,” Elliot said, adding that most of the organization’s revenue comes from memberships and childcare fees. A smaller portion of the organization’s revenue comes from grants and donations.

    All of the YMCA’s 16 branches, 12 early learning centers and community service centers have been closed since March 16, when Mayor Jim Kenney ordered all non-essential businesses to close in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. After-school enrichment programs, sports leagues, lessons, events and trips also have been canceled or postponed.

    The YMCA has offered members several options for dealing with their memberships during the closure: Keep it active as a donation, keep it active as a donation and get a month credit tacked on at the end of the year, or freeze the membership.

    Nearly three dozen other businesses have filed notice with the state this month indicating their intent to layoff some or all of their employees.

    The notices are required under the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1989, which dictates that any company with 100 or more employees must give full-time employees notice of any layoffs.

    Of the notices filed in March, the YMCA’s indicates that it will affect the largest number of employees. The next largest layoff is Camelback Resort in Monroe County, which is laying off 720 employees.

    More than 600 employees of different contractors for the Philadelphia International Airport were laid off last week. They include baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, skycaps, wheelchair attendants, line queue workers and security officers.

    The number of layoffs in the region and across the country is expected to increase as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbs, businesses remain closed and the economy sinks into a recession.

    Nearly 3.3 million Americans (1% of the population) applied for unemployment compensation last week — almost five times the previous one-week record set in 1982. Some economists believe that number could increase to 13% of the population by May.

    Roughly 650,000 Pennsylvanians have filed unemployment compensation applications in the 11 days since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down.

    This story first appeared in the Philadelphia Tribune, a publishing partner of the Capital-Star.