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Auto group furloughs over 100 workers at 7 dealerships

"Our present expectation is that the furlough will be temporary"
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — One of the St. Louis region's largest auto dealers has furloughed more than 100 workers locally due to the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on its business.

Dululth, Georgia-based Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE: ABG) filed notices with the state of Missouri under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act indicating it has furloughed 124 total workers at Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and Mercedes dealerships it operates here.

All furloughed employees were to be separated April 3, according to the notices, which carried that date and were received last Thursday by the Missouri Office of Workforce Development's Dislocated Worker Program.

"Our present expectation is that the furlough will be temporary," the company wrote. Asbury said none of the impacted workers are subject to seniority or bumping rights, which would allow them retain their jobs over employees with less tenure.

"As you know, the COVID-19 virus recently reached pandemic proportions and the federal government and many states have declared a state of emergency," Asbury said in its notices. "These sudden and unexpected circumstances adversely affected our business operations and, unfortunately, prevented us from providing notice sooner."

The publicly held company reported April 3 that it "has acted decisively in an effort to right-size its business, reduce expenses and mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19." That included putting about 2,300 total employees on furlough, as well as reducing store hours and suspending its 401(k) match. 

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