BRUNSWICK — More than 50 workers at Wayfair in Brunswick were laid off Thursday as part of a mass restructuring of the company that included more than 550 layoffs worldwide, according to company officials. 

Wayfair is the largest employer at Brunswick Landing, the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, with close to 500 workers. 

The Brunswick location let go of 55 Brunswick employees “who work on specialized teams led out of Boston,” according to Susan Frechette, associate director of corporate communications. The customer service team was not affected by the cuts. 

“To position the organization to take advantage of the opportunity ahead, we continually evaluate the needs of the business and work to increase efficiencies while aligning our teams with the initiatives that drive the greatest impact for our customers,” Wayfair representatives said in a statement. 

“As part of that process, we have made some organizational changes that affect approximately 3% of our global workforce. We are continuing to hire for the many roles needed to drive our long-term success and the continued growth of the business. We remain as confident as ever in Wayfair’s future and our steadfast focus on delighting our customers with the best experience for home.”

Wayfair is a Boston-based e-commerce company specializing in home and office furnishing. It employs 17,000 people worldwide. The company opened a Brunswick contact center for sales and customer support in June 2016, moving into a 40,000-square-foot former Navy building on Burbank Avenue. 

The announcement comes one day after a workforce development event at the Brunswick Wayfair location, according to Sally Costello, Brunswick’s economic and community development director. The layoffs were the result of a company realignment, and those impacted held what she said were “auxiliary jobs” that were no longer needed due technological improvements at the company. 

The company is still in a “growth mode,” Costello said, has no intention of closing the Brunswick facility, and will still maintain about 500 employees there.

“This obviously has a profound impact on the folks that lost their jobs. … I don’t want to minimize that,” Costello said, “50 jobs in Maine is a lot,” but “we’re happy to know they’re still looking to grow and maintain that facility.” 

As of August, Wayfair was by far the largest employer at the former base, with 508 employees, followed by SaviLinks with 140 and Pathways with 122. 

Wayfair was named this year’s Brunswick Landing Innovator of the Year in the large company division (for more than 11 employees). 

Wayfair made headlines this summer when hundreds of employees staged a walkout after learning that the company had sold over $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to a Texas-based government contractor managing migrant detention camps along the southern U.S. border. Only five employees from the Brunswick call center walked out, but they were joined by about 20 community members, according to media reports at the time. 

The Wayfair layoffs come during a time of transition for retailers across the country. Earlier this week, Sears announced it would close its location in Cook’s Corner by mid-April, but declined to say how many employees would be impacted. 

L.L. Bean, the Freeport-based retailer also announced earlier this month that it is reducing its workforce by 200 full and part-time positions as the company undergoes a reorganization that executives hope will position it for future success, according to the Portland Press Herald. The layoffs are expected to impact about 130 Maine employees. The company also announced it will close its call center in downtown Lewiston next year, though affected employees will be offered jobs at another company call center.

Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority said he was aware of the situation but did not comment further.


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