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Published March 13 2010

259 Verety employees losing jobs

About 259 Verety employees across North Dakota who provide remote fast-food ordering services nationwide are losing their jobs.

Parent company Ygomi informed the mostly part-time, minimum-wage employees by letter that it will close Verety on May 12.

“We understand that employment loss has a significant impact on your lives and communities. While it deeply saddens us to make this decision, we felt there was no other option,” said Adele Page, Ygomi senior vice president and chief employment counsel.

Verety was launched in 2004, employing remote work-at-home computer operators to fill drive-through orders for fast-food restaurants including McDonalds.

“They were doing a great job, that’s not the problem. The service was very well liked by the restaurants that used it,” said Ken Cordes, Ygomi’s director of business development support. “The business didn’t pay for itself anymore. It didn’t make enough money to pay everyone’s salaries and all of the operating expenses.”

Ygomi, with headquarters in Oak Bridge, Ill., will continue to operate subsidiaries SEI and VSI. SEI employs about 535 primarily full-time workers at call centers in Fargo and Grand Forks, Cordes said.

“We expect if all goes as planned that we will be able to hire at least 100 people in Fargo and Grand Forks in the coming few months” to serve other customers, he said.

Ygomi has signed a preliminary agreement with McDonalds for SEI to provide help-desk support for McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S., United Kingdom and China, Cordes said.

All terminated Verety employees can apply for positions at SEI, he said.

Verety recognizes that may not be practical for many work-at-home operators and is working with state and local officials to help affected employees find other jobs, Cordes said.

Verety had North Dakota offices in Fargo, Rugby, Steele and Wishek that will now close or have already closed, Cordes said.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502