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Restructuring of companies to cost 267 jobs in Md.


The restructuring of two giant American companies will cost the Maryland economy 267 jobs over the next several months.

Integrated Systems Solutions Corp., a unit of the International Business Machine Corp., will transfer its "Solution Center" in Bethesda to offices in Southbury, Conn., and Sterling Forest, N.Y. -- a move that will affect 190 workers, according to spokesman J.P. Versace.

Separately, Sears, Roebuck & Co. plans to terminate 77 employees at its Hunt Valley home improvement installation operation by the beginning of next month as part of its plan to reduce its corporate-wide work force by 50,000.

IBM's ISSC Solution Center, which maintains computer networks for ISSC and IBM, will be moved to existing ISSC facilities in Connecticut and New York by the end of September, Mr. Versace said. "This should prove to be a significant saving for ISSC over a period of time," he said.

Less than half the 190 workers will be transferred to the new locations. The other workers will be offered jobs elsewhere in ISSC or might take a package of severance or retirement benefits, Mr. Versace said. "It is our plan to look for jobs for everyone," he said. The workers must make their choice by July 31.

ISSC, which has a work force of more than 12,000 nationwide, operates computer systems for other companies.

The Bethesda operation on Fernwood Road in Bethesda will continue to have 362 employees who provide service to ensure computer systems are used to their maximum capacity, Mr. Versace said.

The 77 jobs to be eliminated at Sears' Hunt Valley operation include sales and clerical workers who had been involved in selling the installation of fencing, roofing and other home improvements by outside contractors, according to Sears spokesman Gordon L. Jones. This work will either be eliminated or licensed to outside companies, he said.

The action does not involve jobs in the operation of the Hunt Valley Sears store, Mr. Jones said.

The affected workers, who will be terminated by April 9, will receive severance payments of two weeks for every year of work for management workers, to a maximum of 52 weeks, and one week for every year of employment for hourly workers, up to 26 weeks.

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