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Verizon Communications to close call center

October 20, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., call center for Verizon Communications Inc. will close Dec. 7 as part of an effort to improve customer service and restructure operations, a corporate spokesman said Thursday.

About 228 workers employed by Aerotek staffing agency in a contracted relationship with Verizon were affected by the decision, according to Tina Enders, a regional operations director for Aerotek.

Workers at the call center's locations at 300 and 400 Foxcroft Ave., were notified Oct. 6 of the decision to close, Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said.

"There is never a good time for this type of announcement," Mitchell said. "We certainly feel for the Aerotek employees."

Mitchell said the closure is part of an ongoing effort by Verizon to improve service by reducing the number of places customers have to call.

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"The ultimate goal is to bring the work in-house wherever possible," Mitchell said.

Company officials also believe the move will put Verizon in a better position in a competitive market, Mitchell said.

The call center was operated at the Foxcroft Avenue site for 10 years to handle customer support, including billing inquires, investigations and other "back office work," Mitchell said.

Verizon opted not to renew a three-year contract with Aerotek, Mitchell said.

"All of the workers currently working at the Verizon call center are getting assistance to find other employment," Enders said.

Enders said Aerotek continues to provide staffing services for Verizon in Tampa, Fla., and Dallas.

Mitchell said Verizon is exploring options for the leased call center space. Verizon employs about 155 people in Berkeley and Morgan counties, with a directory distribution center off Mid Atlantic Parkway.

Based in Hanover, Md., Aerotek is a member of Allegis Group, a network of human capital management and staffing companies.

Founded in 1983, Allegis Group is one of the world's largest privately held staffing companies, according to Aerotek's Web site. Allegis claims to be the third largest such company in the U.S. and the sixth largest in the world based on revenue.

Verizon Communications Inc. promotes itself as a leader in delivering broadband and other wire line and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers, serving nearly 55 million nationwide. Based in New York, Verizon employs more than 252,000 and generates annual operating revenues of approximately $90 billion.

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