News : AT&T Closing Port Huron Call Center
Port Huron, MI, USA, Oct 28, 2015 -- One of downtown Port Huron's private employers is moving out of the area.
Teresa Mask, AT&T spokeswoman, said the company is offering employees at its call center, 112 Grand River Ave., relocation packages as it moves the jobs to Detroit. She said the center will close in December due to the company's lease on the building expiring.
AT&T has operated out of the location since the late 1980s.
Tim Sagert, Local 4008 Communication Workers of America president, said there are 111 employees at the site.
"There had been rumors that the company did not re-sign the lease on the building," Sagert said. "They have known for a while, but just made the announcement to employees. When you relocate that far away you lose a lot of employees."
David Haynes, Port Huron's planning director, said, "Obviously it is something we hate to see happen, not only an economic standpoint, but personally for our workers at AT&T, we hate seeing them displaced and having to make a choice on whether to travel or to seek new employment."
City Manager James Freed said the city has been aware of the potential loss of AT&T.
"From what we've been told these are not layoffs, these are job transfers ... This has been something on our radar for several years," Freed said. "We knew that facility was vulnerable."
Freed said potential developers of the site have already toured it, and the city will work with the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County to market the property.
Haynes said the facility has the infrastructure ready for another call center to move in, and businesses have shown interest in it. While the property had been listed for sale, Haynes said he does not believe it has been sold.
Haynes said having such a large number of employees leave the downtown area will impact foot traffic on local businesses, but to what extent is hard to say.
"Certainly it will have a negative impact, that' s a lot of foot traffic," said Scott Scandalito, president of the Downtown Port Huron Restaurant and Bar Collective and owner of Lynch's Irish Tavern. "We do have a number of AT&T folks who are customers, we'll be sad to see them go."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, October 29, 2015