telephone operators lose jobs
Qwest will close its call center in Duluth after today, putting 52
directory-assistance operators out of work.
February 5, 2010
close its call center in Duluth
after today, putting 52 directory-assistance operators out of
“It’s the end of an era,” said Diane
O’Donnell, one of the operators losing her job.
operators have been part of the communications work force in
since 1881, said O’Donnell, who has worked as an operator for 31
years herself. The city lost its long-distance operators — the
ones they called “O” operators who actually helped customers
complete calls — in 1996, and now it’s losing its
directory-assistance operators, she noted.
“It’s kind of a blow,” O’Donnell said.
layoffs were announced in December, a Qwest spokeswoman said the
closure was due to decreasing call volume as more customers use
the Internet and cell phone services for directory assistance.
The call center is in the company’s downtown building at First Street and Fourth Avenue West.
center accounted for one-third of Qwest’s local work force. The
company employs another 95 people in Duluth
as technicians and workers in its wholesale division.
call center survived previous rounds of closures and even landed
additional jobs in 2008, when the company cut its directory
assistance operations from eight to four. After the current
round of closures, Qwest’s last remaining directory assistance
operation will be in
O’Donnell and other laid-off operators qualify
for re-training as displaced workers.