News : Sitel Plans to Lay Off up to 120 Workers in Caribou
Caribou, ME, USA, May 27, 2016 -- Sales and customer service outsourcing firm Sitel is planning to lay off up to 120 workers in July at its call center in Caribou.
The Nashville-based company, which employs about 350 workers in Maine, informed the state Department of Labor that the planned layoffs are the result of the company losing a major client, Comcast.
Sitel said it still serves three other clients at the Caribou location and will try to reduce the number of layoffs by picking up new business.
Sitel issued a notice to employees on May 21 notifying them about the layoffs, which are expected to begin July 17.
Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act, companies with at least 100 employees are required to give notice at least 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff.
"Please be assured that this is a business decision and is not a reflection on your performance or the quality of the team," the employee notification reads. "During the transition period, we are certain that you will continue to maintain the same level of dedication and professionalism you have always shown."
Employees who work right up until the layoff date will ensure that their separation will be regarded as a "reduction in force" and will maximize their eligibility for unemployment compensation, states the notice from Diana Grandinetti, Sitel’s senior vice president of operations.
Positions targeted for elimination include 84 customer service representatives, 16 agent support mentors, five coaches, five coach apprentices, three learning specialists, two call monitoring specialists, two operations managers and a few others.
State Labor Department spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said the department’s rapid response team will offer sessions for affected workers prior to the layoffs to help them transition to new employment.
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The announcement by Sitel underscores the uncertainty faced by employees of outsourcing companies that expand or shrink as they gain or lose client contracts.
Another customer service outsourcing firm that operates in Maine, SaviLinx, announced in March that it plans to triple its labor force by hiring 200 more people at its call center in Brunswick.
Not all call centers in Maine are operated by outsourcing firms. Wayfair, an online furniture seller based in Boston, announced in February that it would be seeking 500 people to staff its new customer service center in Brunswick, and another 450 workers for jobs in Bangor.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, there were about 9,990 customer service representatives working in Maine in 2015, earning a median hourly wage of $15.43.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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As caring for customers becomes the differentiator that drives consumer spend, Sitel is advancing its position as a world leader in outsourced customer care innovation. With 30 years of industry experience, Sitel’s 56,000 employees support clients with CRM contact center services that provide predictable and measurable Return on their Customer Investment by building customer loyalty, increasing sales and improving efficiency. Sitel’s global solutions include customer acquisition, customer care, technical support and social media programs. Support operations span from home based agents to 110+ domestic, nearshore and offshore centers in 23 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. Sitel manages client programs on behalf of some of the best known brands in the world in 40 languages. Sitel is privately held and majority owned by Canadian diversified company, Onex Corporation.
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