RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARKRTI International is slashing its workforce in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The independent, nonprofit research institute, with headquarters in RTP, has notified the state of nearly 1,200 furloughs and another 50 layoffs. The news came via a notice received by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

RTI has some 5,700 workers spread across NC, the United States and globally.

The jobs impacted are field data collectors in RTI’s Data Collection Staff business staff segment and dispersed throughout the United States.

No employees reporting to the RTP site are being impacted, an RTI spokesperson told WRAL TechWire.

In a letter accompanying the notice, Craig A. Hill, RTI’s senior vice president of survey, computing and statistical sciences, said RTI temporarily suspended in-person field work at the onset of the pandemic.

Most field data collectors were placed on temporary unpaid leave of absence starting March 19, with some working reduced hours.

However, with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, he said RTI’s ability to resume field work with take “substantially longer to resume than previously anticipated.”

Specifically, RTI has been relying on in-person field work for its National Panel of Tobacco Consumers Project (TCS Project), which RTI conducts on behalf of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“Going forward, TCS Project will rely on telephone data collection instead of in-person data collection for the duration of the project, ad its staffing needs will be greatly reduced as a result,” he said.

The RTI spokesperson added: “Although we still expect these employment actions to be temporary, these measures are now likely to extend beyond six months from the initial actions taken in March. If the public health situation improves, employees may be able to resume work earlier.”