Denver Post outsources 29 call center jobs to Honduras as affiliate ends "horrible experiment"
Last week, media writer Jim Romenesko reported about a Michigan newspaper that ended what its editor termed a "horrible experiment" with overseas outsourcing of its call center, and credited parent company CEO John Paton with pulling the plug. Days later, the Denver Post, the largest daily in Paton's stable, has shipped 29 call-center jobs to Honduras. Why? It's a long story.
According to a source close to labor talks between the Post and the Denver Newspaper Guild, Post management asked to move the jobs offshore three years ago. The Guild countered with a proposal to set monetary benchmarks in an effort to prove that cost savings could be achieved without shipping the jobs to another country, as plenty of newspapers and companies in other fields have done over the years.
We're told these benchmarks were met -- but when it came time for the contract to be renewed, members of the Post team insisted that the majority of the local positions had to move elsewhere -- and after negotiations, the paper offered what the Guild considered to be a fair severance package for workers who'd be losing their jobs. In addition, a handful of positions involving e-mail were allowed to remain in Denver.
The tally? The call center had employed ten full-time and 26 part-time workers. Now, two full-time and five part-time workers will punch the clock here, while the remainder have been moved to Honduras. The switch-over was finalized on Saturday.
When asked about this move, the Guild's Tony Mulligan sent the following statement via e-mail:
In order to reach agreement on the full contract, The Post insisted that any agreement must include the amount of savings from the circulation call centers that the paper could achieve by sending that work to Honduras. Post management argued that several other papers had off-shored that work, achieving huge savings without diminishing the quality of service. After months of trying to negotiate an agreement that would keep the call center work at The Post, but reduce costs enough to be competitive with a Central American call center, it became clear that the math just wouldn't work. So the union agreed to the outsourcing of live calls and negotiated additional compensation and benefits for those displaced. Outsourcing was completed by November 24, 2012. Customer service requests submitted by e-mail are still handled by Post employees here in Denver.Mulligan adds that "a few papers around the county have brought their customer service work back in-house. Hopefully, The Post will do the same."
Continue to read more about the Post's decision to outsource its call center to Honduras.