When Xerox announced it would split in two, Sen. Charles Schumer got on the phone with CEO Ursula Burns.
After that January phone call, Schumer said, “She assured me the split would not impact current jobs, current job levels or Xerox’s footprint in Rochester. There were no plans or attempts to move. She made it clear that apart from the company’s usual business cycle, there were no plans to weaken the document technology business.”
Xerox has about 6,400 workers in Rochester.
But at least one unit in Webster appears headed for Guatemala. Two workers in the Managed Print Services tell News 8 they were laid off, along with about 30 of their colleagues. They did not want to speak on the record, because they have to report to work through the end of May.
“I’m trying to raise awareness, let people know, Xerox jobs are not safe even after politicians and the CEO stated jobs would be safe. We’re not being told the truth,” said one laid off worker.
“You’re outsourcing our jobs. It’s sad to see. I didn’t think that would happen,” said another laid off worker.
The laid off workers say they got an email from the company about what to say to clients who want to know why their accounts are being transferred to other agents.
The script said in part, “If they ask you what you will be doing, you can tell them that you don’t know or something that you’re comfortable with. Just a note: The more secure you sound to the client, the more professional you sound.”
The script has no mention of layoffs or Guatemala.
“You risk demoralizing your workforce when you try to tell them that they shouldn’t be open with your customer base,” said financial analyst George Conboy with Brighton Securities. “No one wants their customers to think they’re calling Guatemala or the Philippines or India.”
Xerox would not confirm the Webster layoffs or whether the jobs are going to Guatemala. The company would not say how many Rochester area jobs are on the chopping block. A spokesman referred us to a statement issued Monday from Xerox, saying 4,800 jobs would be cut worldwide.
The two laid off Xerox workers say their unit is not the only one experiencing job cuts. News 8 also talked to a man who said he was one of several people laid off in February.
“Xerox has been very savvy about how they manage their relations with the media,” Conboy said. “I suspect that one of the things they’ve done is make cuts in small pieces, 10 people here, 20 people there, because if you come out and say it’s 200, it’s 300, immediately it’s big news.”