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Verizon call center closures to affect more than 3,000 jobs

The carrier will shut down or consolidate several of its customer support centers, affecting the jobs of as many as 3,175 employees.

More than 3,000 Verizon Wireless workers will need to find new jobs over the next few months.

The company will close or consolidate several call centers in the U.S. where it handles customer complaints and questions. The non-union employees were informed of the decision yesterday and are being given one of three different options, Verizon explained in a statement sent to CNET.

Workers can apply for a different job elsewhere in the company. They can try to find a similar job in another Verizon call center with relocation assistance in the form of $10,000 in after-tax dollars. Or they can opt for a severance package.

"We value the employees at these centers," Verizon further said in its statement. "They are highly trained, highly skilled, and experienced - and they will be encouraged to stay with the company."

Though this sounds like a cost-cutting move on Verizon's part, Verizon spokesman Tom Pica insisted to CNET that it's not.

"We are moving all the jobs to other call centers," Pica said. "We will relocate as many employees as we can. We are investing in new technologies and training in the new core company centers."

Verizon sees the closings and consolidations as an "investment in its customer care operations" but it also acknowledged that the move is designed to maximize the assets of the company and its real estate.

Call centers being closed include those in Bellevue, Wash.; Houston, Texas; and Southfield, Mich. These closings will affect 2,600 employees, all of whom will be "encouraged" to apply for jobs at other call centers or look for other positions at Verizon.

The Bellevue and Southfield closings will be finished by the end of the second quarter, while the Houston closing will occur in the third quarter.

Verizon will also consolidate its call center operations in Folsom, Calif., into its Rancho Cordova call center location, also in California. This move will affect around 325 employees, all of whom can try to find similar jobs at the Rancho Cordova center, relocate to another call center, or look for other positions in the company.

Finally, Verizon will consolidate its Internet Response-Chat Team operation, which currently spans the country, into two locations in Ohio and Illinois, a move that will affect around 250 employees.