Bell Atlantic Corp., which announced in January that it would move 600 engineering jobs to its Pratt Street state headquarters building, said yesterday that it will move 120 customer service representatives from downtown to an office in Calverton, about 30 miles down Interstate 95.
Bell Atlantic spokeswoman Shannon Fioravanti said the move, expected to take place in late 1996, is part of a consolidation of its consumer line of business into fewer locations.
"The good news is there's no forcible layoffs here," she said, noting that transferred employees will have nearly a year and a half to prepare.
Ms. Fioravanti said the Philadelphia-based regional phone company is transferring the jobs to Calverton to improve efficiency. She said it would be easier to train and demonstrate products to customer service representatives if they are concentrated in a few sites rather than scattered throughout the region.
"This is going to make us a more efficient, lean and mean group," she said. "The transition will be seamless. The customer will not even notice the change in location."
Ms. Fioravanti said the move was not being made to make room for some 600 members of the Network Planning and Engineering department who are being transferred here between August and early next year. She said the company eventually hopes to find another work group to relocate to the Pratt Street building.
Moving is not good news for Ron Collins, vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 2101 and one of the affected workers.
Mr. Collins said the move would be a hardship for most of the transferred employees, 114 of whom are represented by his local. He cited a lack of public transportation to the Calverton facility, off I-95 at Route 212.
"Most people will be trying very hard to be placed in other positions," said Mr. Collins, but he predicted most employees eventually will accept the transfer.
"I think people would rather go to Calverton than to 1100 Eutaw," he said, referring to the address of the state unemployment office.