Verizon cuts jobs
on low demand
for new service

26 union positions
will be affected

By Erika Engle

Verizon Hawaii plans to cut 26 nonmanagement employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357.

Of Verizon's 2,500 Hawaii employees 1,475 are represented by the union, which had some 2,000 phone company employees four years ago.

The new cuts come "as a result of external pressures, the economy, competition and technology substitution," said Ann Nishida, media relations manager. With increasing use of wireless telecommunications and e-mail over standard land-line use, she said, "the company continues to have a need to reduce force."

The positions to be cut primarily involve technicians who provide installation and maintenance services, Nishida said, adding "the quality of service should not be affected. There's just less new work to do."

Employees have been offered voluntary separation packages, which include a payout depending on years of service and an option to receive a lump-sum pension payment.

The deadline to accept the package is Oct. 30, with any remaining balance of layoffs to be made by Nov. 16.

"It's not just here," she said of the workforce reduction. Verizon employs 248,000 nationwide.

Union business manager Harold Dias could not be reached for comment.

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