Reporting Matt Roush
SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - Verizon Wireless said Thursday it is closing a call center in Southfield, resulting in the loss of 750 local jobs.
Also closing are call centers in Bellevue, Wash., affecting 850 employees, and Houston, Texas, affecting 1,000 employees.
But Verizon says the move isn’t about cutting staff, it’s about planning for future growth — and in fact, Verizon spokeswoman Michelle Gilbert said Verizon would like to keep all 3,175 affected employees.
“This is not about eliminating jobs in any respect,” Gilbert said. “The affected employees can transfer to any other call center in the United States that has capacity, of which there are many, and they do not have to reapply for their jobs, they can just put in for a transfer, and they will receive $10,000 for moving expenses. If every employee in good standing applied for a transfer they could all stay with the company.”
Instead, Gilbert said, “This was about maximizing our real estate assets. We had to look at the buildings that had the capacity to expand, and we do not have the capacity to expand this call center.”
The nearest call centers to Detroit are in Dublin, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, and Elgin, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Verizon will have 28 call centers around the country after the realignment.
Gilbert said employees who don’t want to transfer may also apply for other Verizon jobs in the Detroit area. “And if they can’t find something that meets their family’s needs, as long as they stay until the end of the call center at the end of June, they will receive a robust severance package,” Gilbert said.
Verizon’s Southfield call center is off Northwestern Highway near Lahser and 11 Mile roads.
The company also announced the internal reorganization of some other call center functions that do not involve closing of centers.
Regional headquarters and other company operations co-located with the Southfield center, as well as the other two to close, s will continue to operate as they do today, Verizon said.
Verizon said that after the shutdown it will have more than 1,700 employees in Michigan. The company also said it planned to continue its network investment in Michigan, which last year amounted to $265 million.