MCI Communications Corp. will begin this week to notify "1,000-plus" employees throughout the 25,000-worker company that they are being laid off, a spokeswoman said yesterday.
MCI has about 5,000 employees in the Baltimore-Washington area. It operates a sales and service office in downtown Baltimore, a customer service center in Hunt Valley and a telemarketing center in Towson.
The company announced Nov. 15 that it would lay off as many as 1,500 workers nationwide over the next two quarters as a result of a corporate restructuring that consolidated its seven domestic divisions into four larger business divisions.
The layoffs at Washington, D.C.-based MCI, the nation's second-largest long-distance telephone company, will affect "about 500 less employees than we projected in November. I think it's safe to say that in the Baltimore area there's not going to be a huge number of displacements proportionately," said MCI spokeswoman Debra Schriver.
Notification of the layoffs is formally scheduled to last until March 31, but "in the next few days the majority of people will have been notified," Ms. Schriver said.
MCI, which had revenues of $6.5 billion in 1989, has been under financial strain in the last six months, analysts said.
On Nov. 16, one day after the announcement of the pending layoffs, MCI stock lost about a quarter of its value, plunging $7.375 to close at $22.625 a share, on news that its financial performance might falter because of stepped-up competition from American Telephone & Telegraph Co., the general economic slump and MCI's reorganization.
MCI is proceeding with its layoffs because it has "traditionally been aggressive. They're not the types to sit around during two quarters of down earnings and say, 'Gee, I wonder what we'll do about it?,' " said Elisabeth Albert Hayes, an analyst with Johnston, Lemon & Co.
The company is officially playing down the layoffs. "After all, we're an organization of 25,000 people, and you're looking at probably 1,000-plus people being displaced," Ms. Schriver said.