Verizon to close Rancho Cordova centers; 1,000 workers offered out-of-state relocation

By Mark Glover

mglover@sacbee.com

October 12, 2016 03:12 PM

Verizon Wireless is closing its Rancho Cordova customer service and telesales call center, effective Jan. 27. Elise Amendola AP
Verizon Wireless is closing its Rancho Cordova customer service and telesales call center, effective Jan. 27. Elise Amendola AP

Telecommunications giant Verizon said Wednesday that it will close its Rancho Cordova customer service and telesales call center early next year, resulting in a loss of more than 1,000 local jobs.

The local closure is effective Jan. 27. Verizon said workers were informed of the upcoming closure on Wednesday.

Verizon said the workers – approximately 700 in customer service and 300 in telesales – will be offered the opportunity to relocate to other customer service call and telesales centers outside of California.

Rancho Cordova’s Verizon facilities are housed in two buildings at 10730 and 10734 International Drive, between Mather Airport and Highway 50.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, company spokeswoman Heidi Flato said: “This was a very difficult but necessary business decision. We value our customer service and telesales employees. They are highly trained, highly skilled and experienced and they will be encouraged to stay with the company.”

Verizon said the displaced local workers who want to visit a call center outside the Golden State or Verizon telesales operations in Irving, Texas; Greenville, S.C.; or Tampa, Fla., will be offered a $500 stipend to defray travel costs. The company said it is offering $10,000 in relocation assistance for those who transfer to another center.

Flato said “eligible employees unable to relocate or who do not secure other assignments with the company will be offered individualized separation packages and outplacement help.”

She said a handful of information technology and other Verizon workers in Rancho Cordova ultimately will move to Verizon’s Folsom office at 255 Parkshore Drive. She said the Verizon buildings on International Drive in Rancho Cordova “will be vacated.”

Flato said the Rancho Cordova closure is part of a larger, national consolidation that Verizon is implementing to take advantage of available real estate. She said other Verizon call centers scheduled to close in 2017 are in Bangor, Maine; Lincoln Neb.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Wallingford, Conn. All five call center closures involve displacement and possible relocation of about 3,200 employees, Flato said.

California Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, was vehemently upset with Verizon’s decision and its timing.

“Doing this at the end of the year is a lump-of-coal decision,” Cooley said Wednesday. “That means in this holiday season forcing (Verizon employees) to get their homes on the market. It’s a god-awful thing to do during the holidays and in the winter.”

Cooley also cited Rancho Cordova’s diversity, the state’s nearby Office of Emergency Services facilities, the fact that Verizon’s facilities are far removed from Bay Area earthquake zones and above the local floodplain and the availability of “state of the art fiber optics” from the former Mather Air Force Base.

“It just doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.

Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, said in a written statement that Verizon’s closure is a setback for the region’s economic development goals.

The Sacramento region is competitive in terms of a large, educated workforce and proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area’s booming high-tech sector, but with its relatively high cost of living and doing business, it remains at a disadvantage compared with low-cost states such as Florida and South Carolina, he said.

“The loss of 1,000 jobs is a disappointing development for what we are trying to accomplish in the region,” Broome said.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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