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Headcount: Labor Daze

Hope you're having a good work week – because it may be your last for a while! The weeks after Labor Day have historically been the worst for layoffs, according to a CNN report, citing the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"You are 25 percent more likely to lose a job after Labor Day [Sept. 1] than in the preceding eight months," Challenger tells CNN. "The reasons: Employers are finalizing budgets and business plans for 2004, and payroll levels are heavily impacted by both."

Even with that spectre looming over us, Headcount wishes you and yours a happy Labor Day, and all that implies. Now, before you pack up your desk, let's swim through the most interesting hirings, firings, and other telecom employment news of the past couple of weeks:

  • Balls and strikes: As the Communications Workers of America (CWA) begins its annual conference in Chicago this week, the union's negotiations with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) continue. Both sides say they've made significant progress over the past week, but they haven't reached an agreement yet. Today marks the beginning of the fourth week that thousands of Verizon workers represented by the labor unions have returned to work without a contract. Meanwhile, the CWA is still readying its members and others to switch their services from Verizon to AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) should things get hairy.

  • Cindana banana: What the heck is up with Cindana Turkatte these days? We asked, but she's not saying, so perhaps Headcount's legions of well-informed and extremely good-looking readers (suckups? us?) can offer a clue. We do know that Turkatte is no longer president and CEO of Xindium Technologies Inc.; she left in April. Before she left Xindium, she helped them nab more funding, as the company began shifting its focus from building long-haul networking components to building chips for wireless applications.

    We also know that Turkatte's background includes stints as VP of marketing at Iolon Inc. and VP of marketing and business development at SpectraSwitch Inc.. We also hear that she's out seeking funding for a new startup, and that she has represented herself as the president and CEO of Cindana Inc. Her Website, however, has no further information – just the promise that something is coming in August 2003. Well, Cindana, you've got less than a week left in August. Time to put up or... change your Website.

  • On the road, again: Former Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) and Arris International marketing vet Mike Horton has been at Ceterus Networks barely three weeks, and they're already sending him out on the road. Horton, now senior director of marketing, is taking meetings all around this week as Ceterus readies a big product announcement that's meant to coincide with the NFOEC show next month. The company's Website says it is creating a transport system that helps service providers deliver metro Ethernet services over their existing copper or fiber infrastructure. More to follow...

  • Save the etalons: The WavePrecision unit of GSI Lumonics Inc. (Nasdaq: GSLI; Toronto: LSI) is going away, but its precision etalon products aren't. A spokeswoman says GSI has decided to close the Napean, Ontario plant, laying off about 20. Production will be transferred to GSI's Moorpark, Calif. facility. JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) and Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX) might be relieved by that last part: Both companies reportedly rely on WavePrecision for precision etalons.

  • Material issue: This week's doublespeak award goes to Gary Smith, CEO of Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), who, during the company's August 21 conference call, found he still couldn't come right out and admit that his company continues to lay off workers, even though Ciena had confirmed additional layoffs in a Light Reading story on August 14 (see Ciena Tightening Its Belt). When asked about layoffs on the call, Smith said: "In terms of headcount, we have not made any changes, significant changes, since the -- or material changes since the end of the quarter."

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

    That's all from the Headcount news blotter at the moment. Surely there's more going on than that, right? If so, don't be shy. Get your tips to [email protected] and give us what for.

    — Phil Harvey and Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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    dave_95473 12/5/2012 | 3:23:34 AM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze A recruiter who worked for Cisco told me that the company has now a policy of quarterly reviews who's primary reason is to drive out people over 40 (more expensive probably).
    I am wondering for how long we will accept to have our professional life caped at 40...

    ===============

    I don't know, but I'm selling Real Estate
    these days.

    kithan8 12/5/2012 | 3:00:52 AM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze I'm considering accepting a position to work with Cindana. What did you mean by famous with middle aged male senior executives? Would appreciate any feedback on her.

    Thank you.
    KH
    Dunkin 12/4/2012 | 11:31:10 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze There have been rumors about recent layoffs of the contivity/new oak team in Billerica, MA as well as other layoffs there. I note also that their career website does not have MA on the list of potential sites. Is the old Bay East site shut down?
    rbkoontz 12/4/2012 | 11:31:09 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze Heard there were "massive" layoffs going down at Cisco Petaluma this morning. Supposedly OTG - wide throughout the week as they try to stop the bleeding at the division. I guess Cerent boxes just ain't selling like they used to...
    RoutedWorld 12/4/2012 | 11:31:08 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze
    Cisco's been letting people go steadly without much attention. Bottom 5% is asked to leave. Not a fun place to work based on what my friends say.

    With semi stocks in the tank I've always found it hard to understand how Cisco's been doing well. The have to buy parts from somewhere? IBM just had a big layoff in the Microelectronics division (around 600people). I'm sure Cisco isn't buying chips from IBM like it use to.

    Oh well, guess I'll just hold on to my stock shares hoping that someone's going to need routers and switches again.
    single mode figure 12/4/2012 | 11:31:07 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze Wheww!! Too bad most of the technoscum have left the building. I got tired of hearing some engineers whine about only making thirty million on their stock. That hardly buys another these days...
    rapid 12/4/2012 | 11:31:07 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze Who is she and why the heck do I care?

    Come on LightReading!!
    10Gig 12/4/2012 | 11:31:05 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze alchemy wrote:

    "The Cisco HR policy has always been to rank all their employees, put the bottom 5% on a get well plan, and boot them out the door on the next ranking if they haven't improved remarkably. It's how you avoid the cancer found in most big companies where the strongest people are constantly departing for better opportunities leaving only weak talent...."


    BobbyMax, that's the reason you see so many Indian and Chinese in Cisco .. or oh well.. it's a third world California company run by corrupt foreigners. Ha Ha!
    signmeup 12/4/2012 | 11:31:05 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze There is an obvious flaw with this - If you are not hiring new 'blood' to replace the bottom 5% you just axed, pretty soon you are no longer cutting just the bottom 5%.

    Based on the headcount numbers, Cisco hasn't substantially added to their employee base since early 2001. They have, on the other hand, substantially reduced their headcount by over 10,000.

    It is no fun having to justify your position every three months, just to hear you made it to the next quarter. I can only imagine that morale at Cisco has to be at an all time low (which is still probably better than at most startups). Time will tell what these employees do once the economy improves and more opportunities outside Cisco become available.
    alchemy 12/4/2012 | 11:31:05 PM
    re: Headcount: Labor Daze Cisco's been letting people go steadly without much attention. Bottom 5% is asked to leave. Not a fun place to work based on what my friends say.

    Bravo!

    The Cisco HR policy has always been to rank all their employees, put the bottom 5% on a get well plan, and boot them out the door on the next ranking if they haven't improved remarkably. It's how you avoid the cancer found in most big companies where the strongest people are constantly departing for better opportunities leaving only weak talent. This was seen at the 2nd tier mainframe companies in the late 70's/early 80's, the minicomputer companies in the late 80's/early 90's, and in the telecomms companies in the late 90's/early 2000's.

    The Cisco method has worked for them. Hopefully, it will keep them from becoming a General Motors or a Digital Equipment Corporation or a Lucent.
    Page 1 / 3   >   >>
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