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Yahoo cutting 15 percent of Lockport workers

Yahoo is cutting about 15 percent of its Lockport workforce this week.

The company did not say how many workers would lose their jobs, but the numbers bear out to about 30 of its 202 employees.

The layoffs are part of a larger global restructuring that will move away from certain areas of expertise in order to “more efficiently align resources and position the company for a stronger future.”

“With this new plan came some very difficult decisions and changes to our business. As a result of these changes, some jobs have been eliminated and those employees have been notified,” said Suzanne K. Philion, a Yahoo spokeswoman, in a statement.

Philion said those employees have been notified, and vowed they would be treated fairly.

“I also want to emphasize that Yahoo remains committed to Lockport and Western New York. Just last year, we opened the doors on our new data center and customer care center, and we’ve invested more than half a billion dollars since we first came to Western New York in 2009,” she said.

The company didn’t say which types of jobs it would cut and where it would focus those new resources.

“They’re not going to share that with us or their competitors,” said Marc Smith, Lockport’s economic development coordinator and executive director of the Lockport Industrial Development Agency. “They’ve decided which parts of their strategic global force they’re going to eliminate and other ones they’re going to grow.”

But Yahoo has told Lockport officials the restructuring will involve adding jobs in new areas. New hiring will take place throughout the end of the year at the Lockport campus, Smith said.

The company is already far ahead of the hiring goals outlined in its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the town. It has more than met its first commitment to bring 75 jobs to the community. It is just shy of meeting its secondary quota to add 115 more jobs, but has until April 2019 to accomplish that.

Smith said Yahoo has exceeded its promises to the community so far and has been very forthcoming about layoffs, and he has no reason to believe they wouldn’t continue to hold up their end of the bargain.

“They’ve been very open with us that there’s a global realignment taking place. Yes, there are employees in Lockport who are going to lose their jobs, but yes, also, there will be new employees brought in with other areas of expertise throughout the rest of the year,” Smith said.

Yahoo also said Friday that its board of directors has hired advisers and formed a committee to consider future steps and “evaluate strategic alternatives,” which could include selling the company.

Yahoo earlier this month revealed companywide plans to reduce its workforce, close five international offices and explore “strategic alternatives.” The job cuts are expected to be completed by the end of March.

Yahoo has been a growth story for Niagara County. Since 2010, the California-based tech company’s Lockport complex has grown to consist of two data centers and a customer call center, as well as offices.

Yahoo estimates that it has invested more than $500 million since 2009 in the complex. The company also has received incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the form of sales tax breaks, property tax breaks and low-cost power, and it has room to expand.

In 2014, Yahoo bought 18 acres adjacent to its Lockport complex.

Under the sale contract, the company has until 2021 to build something on that property.