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Verizon Considers 1,700 Layoffs If Workers Reject Buyouts

Verizon Communications is offering voluntary buyouts to employees in its wireline unit, impacting roughly 1,700 workers.

The employees being offered the packages are located in the District of Columbia and 12 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.

“At this time, our focus is to adjust our headcount through voluntary means,” New York-based Verizon said in a statement.

The decision impacts less than one percent of Verizon’s workforce of 192,000 employees.

The employees who are impacted primarily work in call centers or are field technicians, Verizon spokesman Rich Young said.

All the employees work in the wireline division on Verizon’s FiOS and traditional copperline businesses. Verizon’s FiOS business has been growing while its traditional access line operations continues to shrink. In the first quarter, for example, the number of traditional copper lines fell by 6.3 percent.

Young acknowledged layoffs are a possibility if enough employees don’t volunteer for the buyouts, although he said such involuntary job cuts would be “several months away.”

Verizon expects the employees offered packages to leave the business by the end of the month or mid July depending on the area where they work, Young said.

Verizon was relatively vague in explaining the reason for its decision. It cited the needs of its customers and its business.

“You look at the work you have and you address your workforce accordingly,” Young said.

Verizon said in a statement the changes will ensure it “continues to serve its customers well while keeping prices competitive.”

Young said the telecom provider has offered voluntary buyouts “many times in the past and the take rate is generally very successful.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of the unions representing Verizon workers, recently revealed New Jersey will lose 382 wireline technician positions while 306 jobs are slated to go away in New England.

The IBEW and Communications Workers of America have been critical of Verizon following a nearly two-week strike last summer.

The telecom titan been negotiating with the unions for several months over a new contract that would impact 45,000 workers. The unions claim they haven’t made much progress over such key issues as Verizon’s pension plan and healthcare premiums and deductibles.


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