Verizon job loss
It looks like the day many anticipated when Alltel was sold to Verizon in 2008 is getting here. The company has given a yet-to-be-determined number of higher-tier workers in Little Rock an ultimatum: relocate to other Verizon hubs out of state or face the ax. Verizon employees have told Arkansas Times that as many as 300 high-salary employees could be affected, with most of them asked to relocate to New Jersey, Texas, Illinois or Georgia. A Verizon spokesperson disputes that number, but wouldn't specify how many have been asked to relocate. Accounts have been trickling into our newsroom since the last week of August, when the employees were informed.
Lucie Pathmann, public relations manager for Verizon's south central region, called the move a realignment of network teams, adding that it's something that's happening throughout the company. Pathmann said that the number of those asked to relocate is "significantly smaller" than the 300 we'd heard, but refused to be more specific. The employees involved all work at the company's Little Rock office at 1 Allied Drive near Riverdale.
"I don't know how many will choose to relocate and how many will not," Pathmann said. "We're waiting hear back from those employees, so really I don't have a ballpark number. We're just not going to get into specifics." Those who choose not to make moves will receive severance pay.
Alltel once employed 3,000 in Little Rock. Verizon at one point said it had hoped to employ 2,000, an original estimate of 1,300 having been increased by call center jobs.
Umps is out
Umps, the full-service restaurant in the Arkansas Travelers' home at Dickey-Stephens Park closed when baseball season ended Monday. It had been open continuously for four years, beginning its life as former Travs General Manager Bill Valentine's namesake, with fine Italian cuisine and wines.
After Valentine departed, it converted to more of a sports bar/restaurant. Pete Laven, the Travs GM, said the restaurant worked well on game days, but traffic couldn't sustain year-round operation, "We're suspending operation and are trying to get together and figure out our best move going forward," says Travs GM Pete Laven. It will likely reopen next April for a new baseball season.
Lunch specials and special nights to watch football games were critical successes, but "otherwise it didn't become a destination," Laven said. He noted many other baseball parks with restaurants open them only during the season.