Calling it quits

“We feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth,” said Anne Boots, manager at the SBC call center in Chico, upon finding out the office will be closing. Boots said the employees, who were informed of the closure Tuesday, were shocked and mad and felt betrayed.

SBC spokesman John Britton confirmed that the Chico, Redding and Tustin call centers, which handle billing questions, are being closed due to consolidation efforts by SBC. He cited a need for SBC to be more efficient in this time of increased competition in the telecommunications industry.

The Chico and Redding employees have been given three options: transfer to Rohnert Park or Riverside, take early retirement (for those eligible) or become “surplus employees” given preferential treatment in hiring elsewhere. The employees are expected to inform SBC of their preference by Thursday, Oct. 28.

Boots said the last day is scheduled to be Dec. 16, “just in time for the holidays.” Thurman expressed concerned about the financial ripple effect throughout Chico, as around 150 employees will be affected.

SBC will vacate its buildings (in Chico it’s at 1370 E. Lassen Ave.) after the closures, and there is a good chance they will be sold.