MIAMI (CBS4) - Burger King axed 261 jobs—nearly nine percent of the local workforce--from its Miami corporate headquarters Monday. Employees told us the rumors had been flying for several days and worst fears were confirmed for the unlucky workers told to pack up and head out.
Rich Calhoun said he worked in the corporate finance department for four years. Now the husband and father of two college age children must scramble to figure out his own finances. He said, "They are basically gutting the company and it will become a cash machine for the Brazilian billionaires who bought it. It (the atmosphere) is horrible."
Brazilian billionaires backed the estimated $4 billion dollar deal that took the fast food giant private in October. Burger King issued a statement saying it wants to restructure for long term success. The fast food giant was founded in Miami more than 50 years ago and said corporate headquarters will stay here.
All those blueprints and billions don't include room for laid off employees like one clearly stunned worker who must go home to a wife and three young children. He would not give his name but said, "I've worked here for ten years in the IT department." Asked if knew what he might do now the worker simply shrugged and said, "No."
The company has signaled it wants to expand in international markets. Here at home, laid off employees said they received fair severance packages. One ex-worker, at least, has her next plans in place. Arlene Ramos said, "I'm very happy because I am going to live in Italy. I'm going into the wine business."
Burger King says it will remain an active participant in the South Florida community. The harsh reality in our community now includes an additional 261 people joining the jobless ranks and the ever swelling economic anxiety.
According to a statement by the Miami based company:
"Burger King Corporation (BKC) has reduced its corporate and field staff in its North America and Latin America business units collectively by 413 positions. In South Florida specifically, the reductions include 261 corporate and field positions, representing an 8.84 percent reduction of the company's total employee base in South Florida."
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