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Originally published December 1, 2008 at 10:46 AM | Page modified December 2, 2008 at 9:12 AM

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JPMorgan cutting 3,400 Seattle jobs

JPMorgan Chase is laying off 3,400 Washington Mutual employees in Seattle — more than 80 percent of the 4,300 people it employs in the city.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Employees return to Washington Mutual bank corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, after attending a meeting across the street headed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO James L."Jamie" Dimon. Monday was the deadline for layoff notices at WaMu. JPMorgan previously announced plans to cut as many as 3,000 employees from WaMu.

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ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

Employees return to Washington Mutual bank corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, after attending a meeting across the street headed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO James L."Jamie" Dimon. Monday was the deadline for layoff notices at WaMu. JPMorgan previously announced plans to cut as many as 3,000 employees from WaMu.

JPMorgan Chase is laying off 3,400 Washington Mutual employees in Seattle, according to spokesman Tom Kelly. That's more than 80 percent of the 4,300 people it employs in the city.

Most branch workers will keep their jobs, however.

WaMu's former headquarters city is taking the brunt of the 9,200 WaMu layoffs that JPMorgan is making nationwide. It employs about 43,200 people altogether.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is in Seattle today. He had dinner last night with about 30 WaMu managers and met this morning with a group of branch workers. At lunchtime today, he is speaking to a group of corporate and civic leaders at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce's Community Development Roundtable at the Washington Athletic Club.

Many of the laid-off workers will be on the so-called "transition team," helping merge WaMu's business into that of JPMorgan, which bought most of the bank's assets for $1.9 billion after it failed in September.

About 1,900 of the 3,400 Seattle layoffs will be part of the transition, meaning those people keep their jobs for at least a couple of months and in some cases up to a year, Kelly said. Workers on that team will receive double pay beginning Oct. 1.

They also will receive severance pay when they leave, which sources at the bank say is equal to five weeks' pay for each of an employee's first two years of service, then two weeks' pay for every year after that.

For high-ranking employees, the package is not nearly as generous as they would have received if WaMu had not failed. JPMorgan is not paying so-called "change of control" severance, which it would have paid if it had bought WaMu from shareholders rather than from the U.S. government.

Under the change-of-control agreement, hundreds of executives would have received severance that equaled one year's salary or more, depending on their rank.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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