On Tuesday, cable giant Comcast rather abruptly announced that it plans to close all of its California call centers, located in Natomas, Livermore and Morgan Hill, that together employ about 1,000 people. The doors will close for good on November 30 of this year. The company says the jobs will be relocated to existing call center facilities in Portland, Seattle and Denver. Employees were reportedly offered severance packages or the opportunity to follow their jobs to the new call centers.
While it would normally be a simple call center relocation story – it happens all the time – it’s the reasons initially cited for the shut-down that have eyebrows rising. Initially, a Comcast spokesperson cited the State of California’s "high cost of doing business” as a reason for the closures.
“We determined that the high cost of doing business in California makes it difficult to run cost-effective call centers in Northern California,” said Comcast Regional VP Andrew Johnson.
Whoops. Not very politic, particularly in an election year.
Comcast quickly walked back on the comments after rumors of an intervention on the part of state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and the Governor's Office, reported the Sacramento Bee.
"It is unfortunate that Comcast's announcement to eliminate jobs in California inaccurately placed blame on the state, but I am pleased to see the executives at Comcast taking responsibility and correcting the statement," said Mike Rossi, the governor's senior adviser for jobs and business development, in a statement.
Comcast’s revised statement, issued later in the day, removed all the language blaming the high cost of operating in California.
“Comcast has determined that in order to run cost effective call centers that are focused on the customer experience, our customers will be served better in the long run by establishing specialized call centers focused on particular customer needs rather than on geography,” said the statement.
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