T-Mobile to lay off nearly 500 in Fort Lauderdale
Mar 24, 2012 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
T-MobileUSAsaid its Fort Lauderdale call center will be among the customer service operations it is closing by the end of June, affecting 492 area employees.
On Thursday, T-Mobile said it would close 7 of its 24 call centers nationwide. T-Mobile said it still has 2,600 employees in Florida.
Philipp Humm, chief executive, said consolidation of T-Mobile's call centers is needed to remain competitive in the wireless market. "These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth," Humm said in a press release.
Call centers scheduled for closure also include: Allentown, Pennsylvania; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colorado and Redmond, Oregon.
This consolidation will result in 1,900 layoffs. T-Mobile employs approximately 3,300 people at the seven affected call centers.
On Friday, T-Mobile's notice of the 492 layoffs in Fort Lauderdale was posted on the state's WARN site. Of 2012 layoffs so far, only Jackson Memorial Hospital's warning of 920 layoffs in February is larger.
T-Mobile said customer service representatives have the opportunity to transfer to the company's 17 remaining call centers, including one in Tampa. T-Mobile said it will add as many as 1,400 new positions at remaining call centers in Maine, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
Employees who remain until the centers are closed will be offered transition packages including severance pay and outplacement services to find a new job, T-Mobile said.
Candice Johnson, spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America, which has a small number of T-Mobile technicians as members, said the concern is that T-Mobile will send more jobs overseas. She said T-Mobile has already has sent 6,000 jobs to Asia and Honduras.
The job cuts are "a very bad decision and tragedy for the people in these calls centers who face finding new work in this shaky economy," she said.
AT&T senior executive Jim Cicconi wrote a blog post Friday criticizing T-Mobile's move. "Only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved. We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs," he wrote.
In December, competitor AT&T decided to call off its proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA. AT&T cited opposition from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, which opposed the deal on grounds it would create a less competitive wireless industry and potentially lead to higher prices for consumers.
"But for the government's decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security," Cicconi says in his post.
T-Mobile said it will restructure operations in other parts of the business by the end of second quarter of 2012, with cost-cutting fueling investments including a $4 billion modernization of its network.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG, a German company.
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