Verizon Wireless closes three call centers as 3,100 get pink slip
The call centers involved are in Bellevue, WA, Southfield, MI and Houston, TX. No reason was given by Verizon for this action. When you consider that the company added 1.5 million net retail subscribers in the fourth quarter, the most in three years, you wonder what was the thinking behind the closings and pink slips. Sure the bottom lime showed that the company lost $2.02 billion in the period, but that was after a $3.4 billion charge for a pension plan revaluation charge. Data revenues surged.
What might be the problem is the price of the stock which has been trading between 34 and 40 for the last year, basically going sideways. If the layoffs and closings can improve profits, the hope is that investors will see this growth and start buying Verizon's common stock. If there is another reason for what Verizon has done, it might be good public relations to announce it.
1. ahomes713 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
Just heard the news today...actually this morning. I live in Houston, TX and this was one of the best call centers in the city. They paid substantially well and their employees were loyal....they never left. This was a shock..I feel sorry for the employees.
5. rasinhussy (Posts: 87; Member since: 28 Dec 2008)
I think being paid well was the reason they were let go. When they need to they just hire more people at minimum wage.
Corporations will do anything to improve the bottom line to please the almighty shareholder, people are just numbers nothing more.
I feel bad for them, myself being a loyal employee for a giant corporation for 8 years then being kicked out the door, it really is a slap in the face.
36. frmrVZguy (Posts: 38; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
they paid more than other call centers...matched 401k...gave me a $10k relo pkg...paid for all my IT cert courses...I maxed my bonus at nearly $7k...they are extremely family and life-choice friendly ....they are a GREAT employer...I now work for a software company because I want to, ...only feelings of gratitude for my years at VZW...
38. shermanite (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
This is not the case in the corporate retail stores. We are losing more benefits everyday. Getting little to no raises accross the board. Verizon Wireless is making more money then every before. The pressure is due Verizon Communications crumbling company.
Since they own over 50% of VZW we are considered part of their holdings. Verizon Communications is losing more money then VZW's net gross. Thus we are being punished due to another failing company.
VZW was an amazing company and it still is compared to most other corporations but this is changing quickly. VZW needs to buy their way out of this atrocious conglomerattion.
46. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)
Kinda makes you wonder if they'll do something like Alltel did in the past. Alltel was a cellular/landline communications company. They eventually dropped their landline business and became exclusively wireless. Unfortunatly for Alltel they didn't have a strong foothold in the wireless industry, so they tanked.
I think Verizon as a wireless industry will continue to grow and improve but the wireline industry is falling, no matter what company it is. Cable companies and VoIP are replacing traditional phone service. The best thing in my opinion other than Verizon's wireless branch is FiOS, which I don't even have, but heard is pretty good.
52. HighHopes (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Apr 2012)
I feel sorry for the employees also. I worked there a number of years and have seen the torture that some of the employees went through. I have observed in the past, employees crying over their performance reviews, scared that they may be fired. I have seen supervisors delegate duties that are their responsiblitiy to their crony underlings. It is an extremely hostile work environment which is supported from the very top management. (i.e. corporate level) The company has a high turn over rate. They have employees work outside their normal work hours and do not pay them. I think the 99% ought to put their money where their mouth is and not invest in companies like this and allow/permit the CEOs to get paid large sums of money. People need to stand up and be heard. $$$$$
2. theBankRobber (Posts: 649; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
They should really say, they MOVED these jobs overseas. Then it will be more believable then a cut throat to the American people.
26. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
how often do you call Verizon customer care? I speak to someone in America every time that i call....overseas?
i wish people would think before they would respond. I call (and work for Verizon) customer service every day for a customer and have yet to get someone "overseas"
39. theBankRobber (Posts: 649; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
You work for Verizon? Oh sorry to hear that. You think the corporation's really give a s**t about us? Yes I called Verizon today 3 times about there s**tty DSL box keep losing internet. I never said they DID move their s**t overseas , it was implied as it wouldn't be surprising.
41. remixfa (Posts: 14147; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Verizon land line and Verizon wireless are 2 separate companies that run independent of each other that are owned by a conglomerate "VZ Communications".
I used to work for VZW and even though I got let go in the Alltell merger so they could save a bunch by keeping the much cheaper alltell employees over the large group of VZW employees that they gave the boot to, my experience with them was extremely positive. Its definitely one of my favorite places I've worked. And yea as far as the benefits go, they are awesome. T-mobile's benefits are actually nicer in many areas but there is a big pay difference between the 2 carriers.
49. db635794 (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Sep 2010)
DSL Box???? We're talking about Verizon WIRELESS....not Verizon....like atheistic said "think"
40. theBankRobber (Posts: 649; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
Oh and while your running at the mouth, how about telling someone at Verizon to invest some of their money into a f**king box that doesn't lose connections and have to be rebooted 10 times a day. POS equipment
33. Sparhawk (Posts: 75; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Every single VZW call center agent is located in the US.
37. shermanite (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Sparhawk is correct, all Verizon WIRELESS everything is in the US. Verizon Communications has quite a bit over seas.
These are two different companies for all intensive purposes.
51. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
and i wouldnt disagree with you :)
years ago i remember speaking to someone who barely spoke english, however i have yet to speak to someone outside of the US on the wireless side
3. khai1911 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
i have a friend that works for the houston center. they are not getting a pink slip. they are getting the option to relocate to another center.
4. Jphones (Posts: 235; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Wow WTF unemployment above 8% an these billionaires want to add to unemployment because they want to make a few extra bucks.smh They already the most expensive carrier in the nation. They probably gonna raise prices to smh forget aka 4 letter word they stock people's jobs should be more important
6. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 913; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Blame the stock market for most woes in America from failed economy to relocated jobs. Too big to fail, and the greed that killed the economy was built on stock market greed!
The companies try to tell you its because they want to offer cheaper products that you the consumer demands. Verizon doesn't create any thing they sell a service, and when customer saturation happens they find new ways to rape your pockets....this is true of most companies trading on the stock market. This is why they don't want wifi connections on phones to work....wifi connections kill revenues by allowing Google voice to work cutting service fees
7. rb68 (Posts: 27; Member since: 23 Apr 2010)
Wow, nice to see all the knee jerk reactions to a story that left out significant details. There are no jobs going overseas, most of the employees are being offered relocation packages if they can and want to move within the company, and those that don't want to or can't relocate will be offered severance packages commensurate with their tenure. It's always difficult to be told your job location is closing down, but these employees will be given every chance to find another position within Verizon Wireless. But let's not let some mere facts get in the way of the narrative.
8. Gawain (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)
Consolidating operations is the next best thing to lay-offs. Personnel are a company's most costly expenditure - every time. After that, it's property and hard assets that are not directly tied to revenue (like a network).
16. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
thanks for sharing this info.
18. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
You need to stop and think for a minute. The hard number we have is 3,100. But, what does "most" really mean? 2,700? 2,500? 1,551 would technically qualify as "most".
These are call center workers, so I doubt there's very much moving expenses included in the offer to relocate. Getting to their new duty station is mostly going to be on them. All they're really getting is a personnel slot held open for them.
And where exactly are they relocating to? New city? New state? Across the country? It's one thing to uproot yourself from your home, family, & friends. That can make relocation stressful enough all on it's own, but what about the employees that have their own family's that are going to be uprooted too? I've taken a relocation before and it was the absolute worst decision I've ever made. And I was in the military so I'm even used to being moved around.
The truth is that Verizon knows that offering to be relocated likely won't be taken up but they have to do it to cover their own asses in the PR game the media plays. They still get to be the good guy and save money.
22. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 913; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
This is so true.....when I was 19 a company I worked for relocated to Arizona to cut cost, and I had a job reserved should I want to have it if I relocated to Arizona. Be for real how many people can just pick up and leave to another location, or would want to move to the area that said company is relocating to!
28. Gawain (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)
My willingness to relocate for work I was interested in has enabled me to never be unemployed. I'll acknowledge that this should not be the only consideration (family, locale, etc), but when I read about mobile-ready individuals, or even families that won't move to where there is work, or someone doesn't want to work because it isn't "their kind of work", they've made their choice. For me, it's not an option, if I've pursued every practical opportunity locally, I look everywhere else. No way am I falling into that 99 week unemployment hole.
Remaining in the workforce keeps you marketable for other work. If you're open to relocate, you get to see a lot of this country (speaking in terms of the US). I've lived over a dozen states, have friends around the country and have loved every minute of it. It's not for everyone, but again, if you're single, upwardly mobile and ambitious, you are selling yourself short by limiting your options.
32. remixfa (Posts: 14147; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
before I met my wife and had a family I moved every few years. I love the thrill of "new". Yea, I have friends all over the state now so from jax to tampa to the keys, i have friends I can visit. I actually met my wife while visiting one of those friends. Change can be a great thing. If your single and its relocating to a decent area, u should take the chance to relocate.. especially if they are willing to pay some relocation costs.. and VZW does that sometimes.
45. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 913; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
If you have a home its not that feasible.....you have to 1st sell the home and take other things into consideration...you don't know every individual situation nor do you know that everyone not working was offered a job relocated else where. I don't believe everyone is being offered a relocated position. But, I commend you and your diligence.
48. Jarahawk (Posts: 43; Member since: 04 Dec 2011)
Right. It is so simple to pick up and move your family. They know many will be unable to do so and they count on it.
9. ymp72 (Posts: 11; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
after wasting almost an hour talking to several Verizon service reps on the phone, I truely believe most of them don't deserve the jobs. The last rep I talked to was finally the one actually knows what MobiTV is and able to help me add such feature & app on my new HTC Rezound. Hope Verizon keeps that guy, one out of 4 reps.
44. Whateverman (Posts: 3231; Member since: 17 May 2009)
With alllllll the apps available on Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows 6.x, WP7, Palm OS, Web OS, Amazon, GetJar and all the other app stores that are available to users now...do you really think reps should know of EVERY app out there? Or are you just being a bit unreasonable because you want, what you want, when you want it. Don't be a jerk because you don't know how to set up a third party SW on your own device. These people are people just like you and just as you don't know EVERYTHING about your phone...they don't know EVERYTHING about your phone either. That's not what they are paid to do.
10. WWThinker (Posts: 31; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
The working population (excluding the CEOs, the Wall Street opportunists, the bankers) have been misled or brain-washed to believe in this: "Corporations will do anything to improve the bottom line to please the almighty shareholder".
In fact, those most important to please are primarily the CEO, COO, and VPs at Verizon. Twenty years ago, corporations will try to live pass the rough time by having everybody within the company to share the pain together (no bonus, no pay rise, even pay cut, hiring freeze). Today, almost universally, the first step is to lay off the lower-rank employees. Despite of the negative profit, the CEOs and VPs at Verizon continue to draw large bonus and high base salary while the lower-rank workers are being axed. Put it that way, if the opportunists and bankers in Wall Street start to feel happy at the future prospect of Verizon, would the remained lower-rank workers get a pay rise or bonus, or would the CEO and VPs raise their year-end bonus? Those who are not of CEOs and VPs should not have the illusion to this answer! Regardless, it is ridiculous that CEOs are paid so handsomely, regardless of the financial result and the lay-off of the employee. In US, the system is so convoluted that so many 'old boy clubs' and analysts use the excuse "market going practice", "CEO talent is rare and worth every peny" alike to justify the sky high pay. Tell me, in history, which CEOs in US ever give out his/her wealth when the financial result is bad and a lot of employees have to be laid off? Why the employees always take the majority of the blunt while the CEOs keep getting good money?
21. Gawain (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)
A grand emotional appeal to feelings of envy, and no business sense.
Verizon employs about 85,000 people and has over 1,000 institutional investors. The executives do not own enough shares in the company to counter that. Companies this size rely on institutional investors to maintain market value, which aids in cash flow, and ability to float bonds if needed. Re-organizing, even if it means laying off a few people keeps things in check with a predictable outcome. This is a benefit to the other tens-of-thousands that work for the company (who get to keep a job). Indeed, the executives do care, in the context of keeping the company healthy enough to employ people.
There have been CEOs and the like that have taken no salary and been granted more volatile (and valuable) options on a company's stock. True risk vs. reward and there are no guarantees. What bends you the wrong way is that these guys can afford to take such a risk in the first place - not acknowledging that with few exceptions, most of these people work their backsides off to get there. The former CEO of Verizon, Ivan Seidenberg, was a Bell Telephone line-man when he started out. Is he part of the club you despise? Or was a he a shrewd businessman?
What will your opinion be of Mark Zuckerburg be when his net work rockets into the bazillions in the coming weeks? Is he part of the "club"?
35. Gawain (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)
Correction: Verizon Wireless employs about 85,000 people. Verizon Communications as a whole employes roughly 190,000-ish...
11. neddy4322 (Posts: 3; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)
Keep in mind these centers closing were an ongoing effort to reduce redundancies after years of mergers. Everyone has the option to relocate. Its not malicious.
19. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
Option to relocate = move, or you're fired. Verizon isn't doing them any favors. They're call center workers; do you really think there's much if any moving expenditures allotted?
25. jburris020 (Posts: 17; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)
About 10k worth if they stay with the company in their current position for 2yrs after the move. So I would say that is decent.
12. remixfa (Posts: 14147; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Everyone say thanks to the iphone deal for cutting profits. VZW is just streamlining the company to return to higher profit margins.
17. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
20. iKnowiCan (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
The resident idiot somehow manages to blame Apple
30. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
actually he is factually correct. Verizon has had to cut costs because of the apple iphone. They affect me first hand. this change also is convenient to the recent release of the 4s after Q4.
coincidence? i think not
29. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
i dont even get paid commission data on new activations (or from basic to smartphone) on iphones because my company makes ZERO money on it
if i "thank" apple it's to punch them square in the face for being a douche baggery company
13. kissmydroid1963 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
This was a measure of consolidating. VZW has over 20 call centers in the US. We all want to "tighten up funds" and for us we consolidate credit cards/loans. VZW is offering their employees a very nice severance package, offering those that want to move the chance to relocate and providing them with a company to help them acclimate to locating a new job. The centers that are closing had leases that were coming up for renewal and the cost of renewing the leases or relocating to a new location was going to be more expensive then the layoffs. At least VZW gave their employees 5 months lead time, I worked for a MAJOR Oil and Gas company and those that were cut there may have had 2 days notice because each department was told "you're safe". Don't speculate what you don't know
24. remixfa (Posts: 14147; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
its A+B = C. And yes, speculation is a major part of this industry. Without all these rediculous iphone and SGS3 rumors most websites wouldnt have enough traffic to exist.
A(VZW aquires the iphone and its massive subsity) + B(VZW earnings flatline or fall even though the company grows due to the massive increase in subsidys) = C (VZW finds excess and cuts it, as it has a history of doing so margins stay healthy.. which in this case is a few thousand jobs. Profit margins will now return to normal.)
3100 workers x 40k year average salary of the workers (its probably a little more with VZWs payscale) = $124 MILLION a year in salary savings alone. Thats not even including benefits, work center costs, or any of that. Adding in building costs and all that junk your probably looking at over 400-500million somewhere a year in savings. Sounds pretty much exactly like an iphone cost offset to me.
14. BuckeyeCadet86 (Posts: 68; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
Everything I was going to write has been said in the previous 3 comments.
15. Knicknevin (Posts: 138; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)
Just to preface my next statement so that there is some background. I work in a call center. There are a large number of factors that could have gone into this.
Verizon is most likely just trying to reduce overhead to stay competitive. If they have a large number of redundant positions, sure they're going to remove them. If the office was close to another or maybe had some bad numbers for too long of time, sure they're going to remove it. This is just a company trying to stay in a very tight market.
From what I have read here, Verizon did a tremendous job of providing for their employees in this time. I wish we could all have employers like that.
27. Jphones (Posts: 235; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
This is crazy some of yall defending Verizon knowing dam well they a billion dollar company F 3 more letters their bottom line which is over a billion by the way cut jobs to save about 2-3million bucks but costing people jobs they depended on. An to you sayin they could relocate how you gonna tell then to leave they whole lives behind you have no idea what they're doin with they're lives. Smh thought the regular American was more compassionate than this. Welcome to Corporate aka Capitalistic America sacrifice lives for a few bucks.
31. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
and you can blame apple actually, which took most of their business overseas and still charges Verizon a buttload to sell their product in which i dont get paid squat on.....
I defend Verizon because if they didnt have to conform to the Apple demand they wouldnt have to worry about selling the stupid thing in the first place, thus those people would have more than likely kept their jobs
34. frmrVZguy (Posts: 38; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Holy WOW what a bunch of uninformed comments by outsiders have been made! I have left the company to join a software company :) but here's how MY relo was taken care of back in 2008 when VZW converted Bellevue to a center for financial services(collections). I was offered the option to pick any other center with openings for which I was qualified with a $10k relo expense package. That's NOT a typo. There were several choices and because of my tech and IT creds I went to the PHX suburb of Chandler where housing is drramatically less $ than Bellevue. VZW had paid for my IT certs as I went along and I will say they treat there employees extremely well. My bonus for maxing out on all performance metrics in my final year was just short of $7k. Yes, there will be households that can't move and have a loss of one income. Stop complaining until you know the facts of the comp package. A hugely successful company like VZW can really lighten the burden and they sure did for me.
42. johndroid (Posts: 4; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)
if I were to pay my employees only $2.50 or $2.00 an hour in the caribbean or in india ,I mihgt relocate my call centers too .
50. katy1966 (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Mar 2012)
Verizon could be like AT&T...They contract call centers to American companies...so you don't know you are talking with a contractor and not an AT&T employee.
54. Sparhawk (Posts: 75; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Way to drag up an old dead news story. And no, none of VZW's call centers are outside of the US.