Verizon is closing call centers across five states in the US, resulting in the the loss of up to 3,200 jobs.
A Verizon spokeswoman confirmed the plans to Light Reading Thursday afternoon. "Nationwide, about 3,200 employees will be encouraged to seek other positions within the company, relocate with company assistance to similar positions among one of our other Customer Service call centers, or accept a severance package," the spokeswoman said in an email.
"This was a very difficult but necessary business decision," she noted. "The key driver behind this decision is to realign our real estate portfolio and Customer Service operations to make the best use of extra capacity in the remaining locations."
The call centers closures will come in California, Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska and New York.
The news angered both the New York State government and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union as it broke Thursday afternoon. "Today, with 20 minutes notice on one of the highest holy days for those of the Jewish faith, Verizon Wireless notified the Governor's office that it would be closing two call centers in New York as part of a nationwide consolidation plan," NY Governor Andrew Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said in a statement posted by the CWA.
Azzopardi described Verizon's decision as "astounding" and "reckless."
The cuts come as Verizon moves to position itself as a digital media player, largely through acquisition. The operator announced its intent to buy Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) for $4.8 billion in July, although that acquisition may be in danger following recent news of a major computer hacking attack that occurred at Yahoo in 2014. (See Verizon Sports Big Plans for Yahoo and Verizon Wants $1B Off Yahoo Bill – Report.)
Nearly 40,000 Verizon wireline workers went on strike in April this year. At the time, the CWA cited concerns about Verizon outsourcing and offshoring more jobs. The strike lasted through the end of May. (See Verizon Workers Go on Strike and Verizon Drops Wireline Clues as Strike Ends.)
The call center closures, however, appear to affect largely non-union Verizon Wireless workers.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading