Shocked and disappointed is how some Comcast workers described themselves Tuesday. Many of them are wondering what to do next. "We came in this morning expecting just a regular meeting," one employee named Sheila said. But what she got was something else. Comcast told close to 1,000 workers that three of their California call centers will be closing in November. For the next 60 days, she still has a job. "I just modified my home and depending on that income to come in to get myself out of foreclosure," she said.
Comcast says they are consolidating call centers, with many of the positions shifting out of state. "We're really trying to put a focus on keeping as much of that talent as we can and for the first time, we have offered our front-line employees the ability to relocate with some financial assistance from the compaby," Comcast spokesman Andrew Johnson told ABC7 News. Johnson said they decided to close the call centers because of the high cost of doing business in California and insists that the realignment will not have an effect on the consumer experience and that the number of employees answering calls will not decrease.
"The economy here is doing better and better," said Livermore Chamber of Commerce President Dale Kaye. Kaye said the repositioning of the Comcast jobs is unfortunate, but not a death knell to the city. A new mall is expected to bring an economic and employment boom. "This mall is going to employ over 2,000 people not counting construction, not counting some of the high-management people that may be moving into the area and probably adding to the quality of life," she said.
But for the Comcast employees slated to lose their jobs, that comes as small consolation. "The market changing, now you have the stress of trying to find another job," Sheila said. State leaders are also sounding off. California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg released a statement saying he was shocked and disappointed, and disheartened at Comcast's sudden move.