SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — AT&T is closing its San Diego call center and relocating hundreds of good-paying jobs to Orange County. The company gave workers eight days to decide whether to move and keep their positions.
"I don't know who can make a decision in that amount of time, but that's what we were expected to do. It's sad," said Christopher Roberts, a call-center worker who also heads the CWA local 9509, which represents the AT&T employees.
The communications giant is not renewing its lease for its facility on Trade Street in Miramar, home to 500 call-center workers who make about $40 an hour.
On Monday, Jan. 10, AT&T informed the workers that their jobs would be moving to its facility in Tustin, giving them a Jan. 18 deadline to decide whether to join. Those who do would get up to $14,000 in relocation assistance.
Workers who decline to move can get severance pay or another job with the company, though Roberts warned it could pay less and be anywhere in California or Nevada, with a week's notice to move. He added there were only a few San Diego openings with AT&T.
"People that we've known for years are all going to be broken up over the next couple of weeks," said Roberts.
In a statement, AT&T says it was consolidating its operations into its facility in Tustin and stressed the relocation benefits it would be offering workers. The company added it remained committed to California, noting 33,000 employees within the state.
Roberts says about half of the 500 workers would be transferring to Tustin, including himself. He plans to commute the extra 80 miles from his Lakeside home because he doesn't want to uproot his family.
"The rest of them have jobs and stuff here already," he said. "They don't want to leave, so it's going to be either up to me to commute or try to move somewhere halfway between and balance it out."
It's unclear when exactly AT&T's Miramar lease ends. Employees electing to move to Tustin start working there on Tuesday, March 1.