Verizon Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. phone company, offered exit packages to 1,700 technicians and call-center workers, a move that may lead to hundreds of job cuts if enough employees don’t volunteer.
The buyouts are being offered to workers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., where Verizon operates its land-line network. The company, with a total of about 192,000 employees, has been negotiating with its unions to lower costs for the past year. Verizon has warned that the latest move will result in 600 layoffs, according to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents the employees.
“Layoffs are a tool of absolute last resort,” Rich Young, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon. “The reality is, the business has changed and we are adjusting our head count to meet those changes.”
Verizon’s land-line revenue fell 1.3 percent last year, hurt by the sluggish economy and growing competition from cable companies and wireless operators. Still, the union has criticized the company for increasing executive pay while contract talks are deadlocked.
“Verizon is putting big paydays for its top executives above building a world-class telecommunications infrastructure,” Myles Calvey, a Boston IBEW representative, said today in a statement.