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Williams Layoffs Begin in Tulsa and Oklahoma City

Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. and Williams Partners LP began layoffs in Tulsa and Oklahoma City on Tuesday as previously announced in mid-March. At that time, Williams CEO Alan Armstrong said that layoffs would affect 10 percent of the company’s 6,700 employees, including about 100 positions in Tulsa.

“These difficult decisions about employment reductions come as part of the company’s 2016 business plan, which aligns the company’s future growth with the realities of the current energy market,” Williams said in a corporate statement issued Tuesday.

Williams Partners has about 600 employees in Oklahoma City.

The layoffs are expected to continue into the second quarter of 2016. The reduction will not be distributed evenly thoughout the companies.

Williams is currently in the midst of a merger with Dallas-based Energy Tranfer Equity; however, the company denied that the layoffs were related to the business transaction. Last week, ETE announced that a consolidation of corporate offices and headquarters would be required in order to achieve the greatest benefit while operations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City would be “significantly reduced” if the proposed merger is completed.

Williams said the company would provide severance packages, including outpatient services, to impacted employees.

“Although economic pressures in the energy industry may impose crucial business decisions, I still believe the best future for Williams and its employees is to remain in Tulsa,” said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “The Mayor’s Office and the leadership of the business community have been standing arm and arm with Williams since the beginning, ready, willing and able to keep the company in its hometown.”