Optimum, a TV, phone and Internet company, is closing its back office operations in Stratford and its customer call center in Shelton and laying off nearly 600 employees, according to a spokesperson for Altice USA, the parent company.
Lisa Anselmo, head of communications for Altice USA, said the company will continue to employ hundreds of people in Connecticut and said the changes do not impact field service technicians.
The affected employees will receive severance and outplacement services and can apply for other positions across the company.
Some employees said the layoffs go into effect on Nov. 1.
Mayor Mark Lauretti of Shelton was upset to learn the news.
“It cuts right across the grain of society when 600 people lose their jobs. We all pay one way or another and that’s never good,” he said.
According to Quinnipiac Business Professor David Cadden, the news shouldn’t come as a surprise. - Altice purchased Cablevision in June for $17 billion, and it’s not uncommon for companies to look to reduce operating expenses after major acquisitions. Cutting labor costs is one way to do that.
Bill Purcell, President of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce said the state’s Department of Labor Rapid Response team will assist Optimum workers with unemployment compensation, possible job re-training and the search for new opportunities.
“We have to take this in stride, I don’t think this is a reflection on the state economy, I think this is now an international business decision that’s impacting at the very local level,” he said.
Following is a statement from the company:
“Altice USA is committed to Connecticut and to serving the local communities with best-in-class products and service. As a company driven by technology, investment and innovation, we are introducing some exciting changes to our offerings, including speed increases and new products, which are focused on delivering a superior experience to all of our customers.
“Over the last few years, there have been investments and enhancements to our Optimum products and services, making them more reliable and providing more customer service touch points than ever before. As a result, we have seen a significant improvement in customer call volume and patterns. As we look to strengthen our operations in the nation’s most competitive market, we are aligning our contact center organization to meet the current needs of our customers.”