A Carlinville company laid off 83 workers over the past two days because it lost a state data-entry contract.
When Rely Services reopens for business Monday, only about 14 full-time workers will remain, operations manager Brenda Witt said Friday. The company's normal workforce was about 130, but a number of employees left on their own over the past several months when they learned the firm had been outbid in its attempt to renew the state contract.
Witt estimated that about three-fourths of those laid off were full-time employees. The company finished its last work Friday on a $900,000 secretary of state contract to enter vehicle title and registration applications into computers.
"The full-time people were the ones that stayed until the end," she said.
Representatives of the local Employment Security office met with employees Thursday, Witt said, registering them for unemployment benefits and helping them apply for funding to return to school or receive other training.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Andrea Crays of Carlinville, a single mother of two who was among those laid off.
"I just want my job back," she said. "Everybody wants that."
Witt said the company, also known as Accudata, did win renewal of a $345,000 contract from the Illinois Department of Revenue to enter data from IL-1040 tax returns. The company will rehire some employees as a result, she said, but that work won't begin until next February.
She said the company also will continue to seek new state work.
"Hopefully, we'll get some more contracts in the door and get some of these people back," she said.
The events of the past two days were "pretty tough," Witt said. "It's a small company, so all the employees are really close."
Rely Services, based in Hoffman Estates, has held the secretary of state's contract for the past two years. A North Carolina firm with an office in Illinois outbid Rely when the contract came up for renewal. Rely has filed suit in an attempt to retain it.
Company officials have been pushing for legislation to give preference to Illinois bidders on state contracts.
Witt said she intends to set up a booth at the Macoupin County Fair to pass out petitions supporting its cause.
"Until they can get legislation in place, they haven't heard the end of us," she said.