US Cellular is a name that some of you may be familiar with, while others of you may not know much about at all. So before we talk about the job cuts that the company is making lets begin by looking at the company. For those of you who have never taken a peek here is a look at how the company has chosen to describe itself, “At U.S. Cellular, we focus on having the world’s best customer service and delivering industry-leading innovations. Our customers receive unique benefits such as a valuable rewards program that recognizes loyalty, new phones faster without continuously signing contracts, free Battery Swap, Overage Protection, and free incoming calls, texts and picture messages. Our strong line-up of cutting-edge devices are designed to simplify and organize your life and they are all backed by our high-speed nationwide network which has the highest call quality of any national carrier. We are rapidly expanding a 4G LTE network, which currently covers 25 percent of customers and will cover 54 percent by the end of 2012.”
The company is getting ready to cut back on about 980 jobs all in all. The worst of the cuts will come to workers in the city of Chicago, where the company will be laying off about two thirds of those workers. Job cuts of that magnitude are more then enough to qualify as a mass layoff action under the current federal guidelines.
For those of you who are not familiar with the idea of a mass layoff action here is a look at how the federal government defines the term, “The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program collects reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs. Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a 5-week period. Extended mass layoff numbers (issued quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments—where private sector nonfarm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.” Under the terms of a mass layoff action the employer must give several weeks of notice before cutting workers from the payrolls and sending them to the unemployment line.
In the company’s most recent release they did talk about some job cuts, “United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE: USM) today announced strategic actions designed to increase focus on markets where it has strong positions and streamline operations to increase overall efficiency and effectiveness. U.S. Cellular has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and three other Midwest markets (the “Transaction Markets”) to subsidiaries of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE: S) for $480 million. The sale includes PCS spectrum and approximately 585,000 customers, or about 10 percent of U.S. Cellular’s total customer base… Following the market divestiture, U.S. Cellular will continue to have more than 1,400 associates in the Chicago area at its Chicago headquarters and additional facilities in the surrounding suburbs. During the transition period, the company may keep open certain retail locations in the Transaction Markets and will provide certain transition services to Sprint. Over time, both company and agent-owned stores will be closed. Upon completion of the transition services period, the majority of the company’s retail, engineering and business support associates in these markets will not be retained.”US Cellular to Cut 980 Jobs by Harrison Barnes