Headcount: Survey Sez

Tellabs, BellSouth outsource; Verizon labor talks continue; and the rumor mill is spinning out of control

August 4, 2003

4 Min Read
Headcount: Survey Sez

Nearly one out of four (23%) of unemployed folks have been out of work for between six months and a year during the current recession, according to a study by Rutgers University (Click here for the full study results).

With so many hunting for relatively few jobs, the grumbling about how the government is handling job-related issues is getting louder. Of those surveyed, 8 percent say President Bush is doing an "excellent" job on work issues, and 2 percent give Congress high marks.

Is it possible that no elected official will be taking credit for job creation during the next election? That would be a first ...

Meanwhile, the only thing Headcount can take credit for is bringing you this past week's most interesting hirings, firings, and other telecom employment news:

  • Jobs on the Horizon: While Indian workers here are fighting to keep their H-1Bs (see Workers Oppose H-1B Bill ), BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) is at work on something called "Project Horizon," through which it will outsource IT work to a facility run by business partner Accenture in Bangalore, India. BellSouth says it chose India because of the "high quality and low cost of technical resources... and the country's pro-U.S. business environment."

    "Our current business case suggests moving one-third to one-half of our IT application work offshore. This equates to 600-900 positions over the next four years," says BellSouth in a memo about Project Horizon. The plan is supposed to save BellSouth $275 million over five years.

  • Get out(sourced): Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) has started the process of shutting down its Bolingbrook, Ill., manufacturing facility and cutting about 325 jobs (see Tellabs Outsources to Sanmina). The company said last week it had decided to start outsourcing all of its North American products to Sanmina-SCI Corp. (Nasdaq: SANM) as a way of cutting costs. Tellabs is moving the surviving Bolingbrook employees to its Naperville headquarters, and it will take a $90 million to $110 million charge against earnings.

  • Labor blotter: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) employees went back to work without a contract on Monday, as the carrier and two unions continue to negotiate to prevent a strike of nearly 80,000 workers. The sides made enough progress leading up to the August 2 deadline that the unions agreed to send employees back to work until further notice while talks continue (see Verizon Strike Averted (for Now)).

    Meanwhile, union employees at Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today approved a two-year contract that locks in wages and allows for bonuses, if the company hits its earnings goals.

  • Jumping from Juniper: Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) won't comment on how many workers it has let go in conjunction with its decision to change strategies in the Cable Modem Termination Systems (CMTS) business (see Juniper Cuts Cable). The company had 1,582 employees as of its July conference call, up from the 1,542 it employed as of December 31, 2002. Juniper just lost its chief operating officer, Lloyd Carney, to Micromuse Inc. (Nasdaq: MUSE), and in May, its VP of North American sales left (see Headcount: Oath (#@%#!!) of Allegiance).

  • Rumor Dept.: There are rumors afoot that Erlang Technology Inc. has made some staff cuts recently. Headcount couldn't reach the company for comment, but we could verify that the company's president and chief operating officer, Allen Pomerantz, has moved on.

    Also in the rumor mill: A source says Kevin Wiley, senior VP of sales at Next Level Communications (now Motorola), is moving on in the next few days -- a move that will have Next Level's salesforce reporting to Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) in Schaumburg, Ill. Headcount reached Wiley via cellphone, but Wiley said he couldn't comment on his own employment situation.

  • Canada, in briefs: Meriton Networks Inc. cut a small number of staff last week, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen. The paper also reported that SS8 Networks has shut down its facility in Ottawa, leaving 35 people out of work.

    Finally, Headcount received a tip that Ceyba Inc. has shut down. Ceyba was not open for business today, but that's not surprising considering that today is a holiday in Canada. The story is plausible, though, given the company's recent layoffs (see Ceyba Rattling in Ottawa). But Headcount will find out for sure and will get the facts in a future column.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days:

    • PhotonEx Hires NA Customer Chief

    • Vodafone Adds Director

    • Bookham Transformation Complete

    • Cavium Gets $18M, Hires VP

    • New Edge Names Sales VP

    • Paradyne Replaces Director

    • MCI Hires New General Counsel

    • Acterna Plans Reorg, Names CFO

    • NPF Adds System OEMs to Board

    • Marconi Germany Gets Managing Director

    • Intel Backs Down on Photonics

    Did we miss anything? If so, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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