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News : FairPoint to Eliminate 60 South Burlington Jobs
South Birlington, VT, USA, May 15, 2015 -- FairPoint Communications Inc. will close the call center in South Burlington, eliminating about 60 jobs.
The Vermont layoffs are part of a company-wide workforce restructure that will cut 260 positions across the 17 states where FairPoint operates.
The cuts are due to the highly competitive telecommunications industry, FairPoint spokeswoman Angelynne Amores said.
"We've seen the numbers decline over the last two years," she said, referring to the number of access lines and customers.
"Faced with the realities of the industry and the competitive landscape in which we operate, we must be keenly focused on managing costs and enhancing productivity," Paul Sunu, chief executive officer, said in a statement Friday.
The company has no projected closing date for the center, she added.
Outside of the call center Friday afternoon, several employees sat near the designated smoking area. When approached by the Burlington Free Press, employees said they were asked not to comment, and that any statements would have to come from the corporate office.
FairPoint customers can contact call centers for customer service, Internet support, repair services and to pay bills.
"The South Burlington call center is connected with two other call centers in northern New England," she said. "When that facility closes, those calls will be handled by the other call centers."
"As with any business, the size of the workforce needs to meet the needs of the business," Amores added.
The company also plans to expand staffing and support in areas including the data center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
News of the layoffs came several months after FairPoint employees returned to work following a four-month-long strike. More than 1,700 Fairpoint workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were on strike beginning in October 2014.
Employees returned to work in February with better pay and benefits.
Local labor unions say the cuts will further erode already compromised service quality for the region's telecommunication customers.
Mike Spillane, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2326, said the layoffs will hurt individuals and the company. The layoffs are more than 10 percent of the region's workforce, he said.
"We are losing people that are support staff for these operations," he said. "Who is going to do those jobs in this area?"
Spillane said unions will fight to make sure employees are taken care of throughout the layoff process, such as relocating employees, taking jobs currently filled by contractors and encouraging older employees to retire.
"We're also going to argue about the number itself," Spillane said. "Is it warranted to lay off this many people?"
FairPoint officials said the company will provide severance based on years of service and will offer outplacement and transition assistance services to eligible employees.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About FairPoint Communications:
FairPoint Communications, Inc. is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and operates communication services in 31 markets in 17 states, mostly in rural areas.
Published: Thursday, May 21, 2015