Phone Company Layoffs Planned for Friday

On Friday, 40 Consolidated Communications employees will be laid off. It's part of a plan to improve company operations.

More than 150 employees will continue working at the Lufkin location and that center will remain open. The Lufkin office will be a major site for network engineering and outside plant engineering.

Jim Watkins, V.P. of Field Operations, said, "They have been professional in every sense of the word. They have come to work. They have taken exceptional care of our customers just like they did before the announcement was made in June."

Workforce Solutions in Lufkin is ready to help laid off workers and anyone in need of a job. All the services - fax machines, copiers, phones, and resume writing classes - are free, but job hunting help is not the only service provided there.

Jon Bunn, Business Development Manager for Workforce Solutions, said, "When you lose your job, it's a huge event in your life and it causes a lot of stress - not only on you, but your family as well. We encourage the employee that's being laid off - and their spouse - to come and attend one of these stress management classes that we have."

Consolidated Communications also has plenty of resources for its affected employees. Relocation assistance is being provided for several workers who are transferring to the Conroe office. The phone company is also hosting a job fair Tuesday at the Lufkin center. At least eight well-known East Texas businesses will be there.

"We extended tuition reimbursement till the end of this calendar year," Watkins said. "We've provided a comprehensive out-placement assistant program that included resume preparation, interviewing skills, job search, and job sourcing skills."

The changes at Consolidated Communications are the result of a consolidation of the company's customer service and repair operations.