Frontier Communications Corp is closing its dispatch center in Beaverton, Oregon on April 11 and laying off 57 workers — all members of IBEW Local 89.
The company, which provides internet, TV, and phone service in the Portland metro area will move those operations to facilities in Ontario and Monrovia, California. A Frontier spokesperson told KGW-TV there will be no service changes for customers.
Frontier issued a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) letter Feb. 10 that stated the company was undergoing “a significant restructuring and reorganization of its business across the U.S.”
As part of the restructuring, Frontier is consolidating its dispatch centers. Since January the company has laid off nearly 1,000 workers in 29 states and closed call centers in Ohio and New York.
In February, Frontier announced the permanent closure of the Beaverton dispatch center.
“It was a total surprise,” said Vick Leving, business rep for IBEW Local 89, which represents about 1,000 Frontier employees in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
Labor’s Community Service Agency’s Rapid Response team was called in to assist the impacted workforce. Forty-four union members attended a meeting in early March to talk about their options, and get help with résumé building. Workers at the Beaverton dispatch center earn between $22 to $30 an hour, with benefits, Leving said.
Frontier has not offered to relocate any of its employees to other facilities. Seven soon-to-be-laid-off workers have put in to transfer to California, and the international union is assisting to find jobs at other locations.
Fortunately, all of the union workers have a decent severance package under their collective bargaining agreements. Four employees work under a Buried Surface Wire national contract. The remainder are under the IBEW core contract.
The Beaverton closure announcement came just as IBEW Local 89 was preparing to bargain a new contract at Frontier.
“We are in negotiations as we speak,” Leving said.
The current three-year contract expires May 26. That agreement took 14 months of bargaining and was settled through binding interest arbitration.
The first round of bargaining on a new contract was held March 30-31. Additional talks will be held later this month.