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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 23, 2004

AT&T to lay off 86, close local call center

By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer

AT&T said it will lay off 86 people and close a call center at One Waterfront Plaza in Honolulu as it continues to cut back on marketing residential phone services.

The layoffs, scheduled for Nov. 19, follow the elimination of 72 call-center jobs in Honolulu in July, when the nation's largest long-distance company announced it would stop spending an estimated $1 billion annually trying to win new residential customers.

Instead, AT&T will focus on providing telecommunications and data services for businesses and services such as high-speed Internet and voice-over-Internet calling for homes.

AT&T spokesman Andy Backover said yesterday that move was prompted by a federal appellate court ruling this spring that forced AT&T to pay more to use the phone lines of local phone companies. The company also announced job cuts in Charleston, S.C.; Puerto Rico; and Fairhaven, Mass., this week.

"This is the cause and effect of that" decision to exit residential phone marketing, Backover said.

Workers in the Honolulu call center, which did nationwide telemarketing, weren't surprised about the center's closing, said Jesse Lacey, secretary/treasurer for Local 9415 of the Communications Workers of America.

After the call center's shutdown AT&T will have about 300 remaining employees in Hawai'i servicing the military and businesses, Backover said. Most of those people will continue to work at One Waterfront Plaza.

Reach Sean Hao at 525-8093 or shao@honoluluadvertiser.com