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Tech Jobs in Rhode Island Could be Cut

Posted on August 12, 2009

One large telecommunications company is planning to eliminate several tech jobs in Rhode Island.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union Local 2323, which represents Verizon Communications‘ Rhode Island employees, recently announced that the company plans to layoff all of its 291 splice-service technicians who have been hired in Rhode Island and Massachusetts since August 2003.

Verizon announced earlier this year that it planned to eliminate 8,000 jobs in the United States. Union leaders are saying they were told 72 Rhode Island employees would lose their jobs and 219 workers in Massachusetts would lose theirs.The company has reportedly declared 1,246 employees in the two states as “surplus,” with 567 of those being splice-service technicians.

However, according to an article by The Providence Journal, company Spokesman Phil Santoro said the company isn’t exactly laying workers off.

“Our employees will be offered severance packages, early retirement incentives – very generous early retirement packages, among the best in the industry – and we’re hopeful to avoid layoffs,” he said. “No one’s being laid off, let’s be clear about that.”

“There are no announcements for layoffs,” Santoro added. “These are job reductions. The employees who will be affected will be offered early retirement incentives and severance packages, and our hope is to avoid layoffs.”

Aside from the current state of the economy, Verizon is lowering its workforce in certain areas as it shifts its core focus to other areas where the company plans to upgrade phone lines to fiber optics in order to offer TV service and faster Internet access.

On top of that, when Verizon purchased Alltel Corp. earlier this year, goverment regulators told the comapny it had to sell 105 overlapping markets as part of the deal. Las year Verizon sold its phone lines in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to FairPoint Communications Inc. The company is cutting some of its 235,000 jobs as part of that deal.

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