Bad Day in J-town for 214 VMS Staffers

Imagine coming to work and learning that your New York-based parent company had decided to shut down, putting you and more than 200 co-workers out of work — immediately.

That’s what happened Friday at Video Monitoring Services of America offices in Jeffersontown. The company notified managers Thursday night and levied the bad news the next day. Here’s what the company did: “…provides news media monitoring, advertising monitoring and analysis, and integrated media solutions. The company offers media monitoring services and Web-based media management solutions for news coverage in media, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet.”

Al Mayo, sales manager for a competing company, Media Library, said the company was troubled. “They were top heavy in management and were very slow to keep up with technology. Their solution was to buy companies with the technology they needed already in place, but they also assumed all the debt and liabilities. I’ve been in touch with folks who were there Friday and they were stunned. They got the news during a web conference at noon. The final decisions were apparently made the night before on a conference call to all managers and dept heads. 214 people out of work here in Louisville. This was their national production hub. Millions in equipment is sitting out there wasting away. Not to mention theygot significant tax incentives when they moved here in 02.”

Mayo said his company had already picked up some VMS clients today.

That’s a tough blow in a tough economy.

VMS, a publicly-traded firm, apparently left so suddenly that no final paychecks will be issued and vendors won’t get paid. Today, the company’s website is down. Friday it had left this message there: “The VMS board, with the input of qualified professionals, have elected to close VMS. Unfortunately almost all VMS personnel have been terminated effective today.”


2 Comments on "Bad Day in J-town for 214 VMS Staffers"

  1. That is a crummy way to treat your employees as well as your vendors. Let the lawsuits begin. But, sounds like it will be like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

  2. Tom Baskind's Hip | August 31, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply

    Crummy is one of the nicer words that can be used to describe this situation. Let’s start by updating a few of the facts in this article:

    VMS was NOT a publicly traded company. It was owned by a small group of private owners, some of which also hold ownership in sister company BurrellesLuce.

    The Louisville office had less than 180 employees at the time of the shut down. Repeated rounds of layoffs and positions left unfilled by departing employees who left for better opportunities had depleted the ranks.

    Final paychecks were issued to the vast majority of employees in Louisville on Friday. Only a handful of employees still await their pay.

    All health insurance benefits were terminated on the spot and no COBRA was offered.

    Employees were not reimbursed for unused vacation or sick time nor were any severance packages given at the local level.

    It is unknown whether Corporate level employees received severance of any type. However, more than one higher ranking NY Corporate type did clean out their office and leave abruptly the week prior.

    Following weeks of speculation and rumor, the shutdown was announced to company Vice-Presidents and above on Thursday at close of business. The remainder of Management and hourly staff found out through gossip leaked on Twitter and Facebook that evening, with the obligatory “Official WebEx Announcment” from company CEO David Stephens coming at noon on Friday.

    While the company didn’t seem to be able to get all it’s proverbial ducks in a row prior to the shutdown to allow employees access to health care options or their 401k plans, VMS was able to successfully ship 180 empty boxes to the facility the day prior to the announcement.

    Nothing like a nice, shiny new box to help carry out all your hopes and dreams in, right?

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