Directory Distributing Associates ending Merced operations

January 18, 2013 12:31:05 AM PST
A distribution center is Merced is ending its operations, and laying off dozens of people.

Directory Distributing Associates is a Missouri-based company that delivers telephone directories, catalogs, and other products across the country. But now the company is ending its operations in Merced and laying off more than 40 employees.

Workers ABC30 spoke with say a new company is taking over, but many of them are still losing their jobs.

Alvin Bibbs has traveled the state delivering phone books for Directory Distributing Associates for the past eight years. Now he's preparing to transfer halfway across the country.

"I'm opting to go to Texas if they'll have me in Texas," Bibbs said. "If not, then I'll stay in California and unfortunately join unemployment, which I don't want to do. I can't live off of it, I can't pay my bills off of it, but we have to do what we have to do."

Bibbs says news of the layoffs has devastated many of the employees at the Merced facility.

"Let's just say morale is at an all-time low because some of these people have been here over 25 years," Bibbs said. "That's a lot of time and dedication to the company, and it's not that the company let us down, it's just the nature of the business."

The company notified city officials that it plans to end operations later this month, leaving 42 people jobless.

Frank Quintero said, "Obviously it affects the lives of the employees who are there, but also it will have an impact on the community, and it's just going to be one more item we're going to have to work harder on to bring in new industry to the community."

Worknet of Merced County has already sent a rapid response team to the facility, which happens to be right next door.

Jacqueline Walther-Parnell said, "We give them a packet of information, workshops they can attend here, the fact they can come in here and use our computers, fax machines, etc to do job search."

Walther-Parnell says Worknet also offers a skills assessment and help with job training for those now facing an uncertain future. She said, "When you look at the state that we're in, no one can afford to be out of work."

ABC30 reached out to Directory Distributing Associates, but they did not return our calls. We did speak with a representative from Product Development Corporation. He confirmed his company is taking over the contract for services Directory Distributing Associates has been providing throughout California. But he could not say how many of the laid off employees will be hired when that happens next month.