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      First Merit Bank to lay off 135 employees in downtown Flint

      <p> First Merit announced that it would be terminating 135 positions from the old Citizens Bank headquarters in Flint.</p>

      *** UPDATE ***

      Mayor Dayne Walling has released a statement about the First Merit Bank layoffs.

      "Everyone expected employment changes with the acquisition and overall the new bank has done a good job of getting connected to our community. It is hard to see these jobs leave Flint but downtown continues to grow and diversify and we will more than make up for these jobs with future projects."

      *** END UPDATE ***

      In a letter to the Workforce Development Agency, First Merit Bank announced that it would be terminating 135 positions from the old Citizens Bank headquarters in Flint.

      The letter, dated August 30, said that they were going to begin laying off employees on October 31. The layoffs would take place over a 14-day period.

      They also said in the letter that the layoffs "will be permanent."

      Additionally, the letter says that because these employees are non-union, they have no "bumping rights." Bumping rights happen when a senior employee loses his or her job, but ends up trading jobs with a less senior employee. The less senior employee then loses his or her job.

      The notification came as a part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. This federal act requires larger employers to provide notification ahead of mass layoffs.

      A First Merit spokesperson, Rob Townsend, said that these are duplicate positions, largely administrative, that are being eliminated. He said that First Merit has been communicating with employees since earlier this year that these position might not be around in the future.

      Townsend went on to say that he wasn't expecting any more layoffs in the future and that, "In no way does this undercut our commitment to the Flint Region." He also said that they are hiring in Genesee County and across the state right now for other positions.