(Adds comment from New York governor's office)
By Malathi Nayak
Oct 13 Verizon Communications Inc said on
Thursday it plans to close call centers in five states,
including its home state of New York, as the No. 1 wireless
company trims head count and reorganizes operations in a
saturated wireless market.
The move, which will affect 3,200 workers is a part of
Verizon's effort to consolidate customer service operations
across the United States.
The company, which has a workforce of about 162,700,
recently agreed to buy Yahoo Inc for $4.8 billion as it
looks to tap new revenue in areas such as digital media and
"We are realigning our real estate portfolio and relocating
these centers into other centers where we have extra capacity,"
Verizon spokeswoman Kim Ancin said.
Verizon is offering affected employees jobs in call centers
in other states, she said.
The consolidation involves Verizon call centers near
Rochester and Orangeburg, New York; Bangor, Maine; Lincoln,
Nebraska; Wallingford and Meriden, Connecticut; and Rancho
Cordoba, California, the company said.
The proposed call center closures, which will impact 850
jobs in New York, drew a testy response from the office of New
York's governor, Andrew Cuomo.
"This is an egregious example of corporate abuse - among the
worst we have witnessed during the six years of this
administration," Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor,
said in a statement. Verizon's call center closures will result
in job losses for "hard-working" New Yorkers, he added.
Employees who choose to move to other call centers, which
handle sales and billing and help customers with technical
problems, will be given relocation packages starting at $10,000,
Ancin said. Those who leave the company will be given a
severance package, outplacement resources and other support.
In April, nearly 40,000 employees of the wireline business,
which includes FiOS Internet, telephone and TV services,
represented by unions, went on strike after reaching an impasse
in talks over a new labor contract. Sticking points included the
relocation of employees and offshoring of call center jobs.
The strike, which was one of the largest in recent years in
the United States, drew support from Democratic U.S.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. A new deal was reached
in May and striking wireline employees got back to work in June.
The Verizon wireless call center closures in five states
involve employees who are not represented by unions, Ancin said.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York and Aishwarya Venugopal
in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto, Bill Trott and David