Verizon closing call centers in 5 states

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Verizon says it will close call centers in five states. | AP file photo

ALBANY, N.Y. — Verizon plans to close call centers in five states, including its home state of New York, where the impending loss of hundreds of jobs prompted the governor’s office to label the company’s move as “corporate abuse.”

The company said Thursday a consolidation of its call centers will impact about 3,200 workers near Rochester and New York City; Bangor, Maine; Lincoln, Nebraska; Wallingford and Meriden, Connecticut, and Rancho Cordova, California.

Some 850 jobs will be lost at the two New York locations, including 600 in Henrietta, outside Rochester.

In California, 1,000 jobs are being relocated, 700 in customer care, and 300 in telesales.

The other jobs include 320 in Nebraska, 200 in Maine and 550 in Connecticut. Another 175 jobs at a customer service facility in Huntsville, Alabama, are being relocated to Hanover, Maryland, the company said.

Verizon has 162,000 U.S. employees.

Verizon Communications Inc. spokeswoman Kim Ancin said the impacted workers were notified Wednesday. All are being offered jobs at other company sites or severance packages if they decide not to relocate, she said.

The job losses in New York come at a time when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under increasing scrutiny for his economic development efforts in the upstate region, especially in areas of western New York where the economy still struggles.

Rich Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman, called Verizon’s moves “an egregious example of corporate abuse.”

“Verizon’s negligence is astounding and as a result, hard-working New Yorkers will lose their jobs,” he said in a statement.

Ancin called the Cuomo administration’s response to the job cuts “out of line.”

“I’m not sure what abuses he’s referring to,” she said. “These are jobs that are staying within the U.S.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes just days after the company confirmed cut jobs in stores across the country as it deals with increasing competition in the wireless industry.

Verizon said that it was combining the roles of two store positions — inventory stockers and customer-service specialists who answer questions about gadgets and bills.

Revenue growth across the wireless industry has slowed. Most adults already have smartphones, and carriers offer discounts. In the first half of the year, Verizon’s wireless revenue fell nearly 3 percent to $44 billion; additions of the type of wireless subscribers who are more lucrative to the company fell 26 percent.

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