Sprint Asking Employees To Please Pink Slip Themselves

Sprint has asked some of its employees to consider voluntarily resigning by December 3rd in exchange for a compensation package. Says a spokesperson, “No one is being forced to do anything. There are no forced reductions. There are no layoffs in store. It’s a matter of employees having the option to exercise discretion. No targets have been announced.” IntoMobile says retail store employees and managers are not being included in the offer. Update: We’ve received a little more info from an anonymous tipster about the downsizing, and what it might mean for customers of Sprint.

This person writes:

What has come out internally is that they have till Jan 8th to accept the VSP [Voluntary Separation Package], and then all bets are off. Also, the tech ops force is going to be diminished and Sprint is going to start contracting out their site maintenance and upkeep. What does this mean? Assloads of the techs who have been there since Nextel are going to be losing their jobs, and contractors are going to be taking their place, leading to worse service than there is now with the skeleton crew they’ve got left.

How do I know all this? My husband was one of the first to lose his job during Nextel’s downsizing prior to the buyout, and we have quite a few friends left at Sprint who are all sweating blood.

“Sprint offers voluntary package to employees “ [Fierce Wireless]
(Photo: Getty Images)

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  1. Cankles says:

    As somebody that has never liked Sprint’s service, I think the whole company should get the pink slip…

    • jamar0303 says:

      @Incognito: Less competition means more chances for the remaining players to raise prices. A buyout by a foreign carrier, on the other hand, can’t hurt… It’d probably be KDDI, the only foreign-operated MVNO left on Sprint.

    • kingofallcosmos says:

      @Incognito:
      As a Sprint customer, I can say that in my city they have the best coverage and rates. There is almost no coverage with AT&T and Verizon is more expensive for the same coverage and services.

  2. gatewaytoheaven says:

    So does this mean that we’ll get the same inept CSR’s over and over again as opposed to fresh new ones?

    I can’t tell if I’m excited or disappointed.

    I really hope Sprint doesn’t go under. Even with the customer service issues, Sprint offers the best bang for the buck (after two days in hell speaking with them…still worth it!).

    • ShirtNinja says:

      @gatewaytoheaven: Well, it’ll still be a new rep every time, you just won’t be able to tell due to the thick Eastern accent and the fact that they’re all just reading from the same script.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    Says a spokesperson, “No one is being forced to do anything”

    Yes, anyone who has dealt with Spring is aware that this is a long-standing company policy.

  4. theirishscion says:

    Sounds like a very effective way to encourage your best and brightest to leave for greener pastures. I know that’s what I’d be doing if I worked there…

  5. snowburnt says:

    Is this like an Employee ETF?

  6. mac-phisto says:

    this is always step 1. if they don’t get enough volunteers, step 2 is to start forced reductions.

    if i were working for sprint, i’d start job hunting now.

    • kc2idf says:

      @mac-phisto: Yep. The question is this: Is it more advantageous to take the money and job hunt with your new-found copious spare time, or to stay on, risk not getting the money, and job hunt after hours and on personal time?

      Unfortunately, my crystal ball isn’t working.

  7. Meat_Shield says:

    The problem here is that if you resign instead of the company laying you off or firing you, you are NOT eligible for unemployment payments. Which means the company does not have to pay for you being unemployed.

    • stacye says:

      @Meat_Shield: This is exactly what I was thinking. I wonder what comes with the “voluntary package.”

      I’m curious – if it comes down to a lay-off, would they have a severance package?

      • bnet41 says:

        @stacye:
        I have seen situations like this before after a merger. This package was really generous. Crazy generous to be honest, but once again so unemployment.

        In the layoff that came later it was a lot less generous, but there was still severance. You got unemployment though.

        Some people really made out in taking the first buyout.

        • stacye says:

          @bnet41: I haven’t seen one of these before – Would you still have to agree to the same terms as a severance (i.e. you wont sue the company, and you wont say bad things about them)?

    • Dead Wrestlers Society says:

      @Meat_Shield: yeah, that crossed my mind too. You’d only get unemployment if you quit under extreme circumstances.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @Meat_Shield: However in some cases (probably not here) the severance package you get from your employer is a better deal than what you can get from unemployment benefits.

      • stacye says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: You can get a severance package AND get unemployment.

        • ludwigk says:

          @stacye: Unemployment benefit terms vary from state to state. If you are terminated, you can get both a severance and unemployment.

          In this case, they are asking you to resign, then you get this weird “Voluntary Separation Package”, and maybe don’t qualify for unemployment.

    • taney71 says:

      @Meat_Shield: And the problem is?

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Meat_Shield: that’s not entirely true. i know in my state (CT), you should still qualify for benefits – even though your choice to leave is voluntary, it is b/c of a “workforce reduction”.

      however, you can’t collect a severance & unemployment benefits at the same time & the term of severance payments are subtracted from the max # of weeks (26). so, if you get 2 months (8 weeks) worth of severance payments, you are only eligible for 18 weeks of unemployment benefits.

      conversely, i believe (not 100%) that if you receive a lump sum payment of your severance, you are eligible for the full 26 weeks of benefits.

  8. Goatweed says:

    I’d love to see Dan Hesse make this the next topic of one of those wonderful black & white “man on the street/man in the diner” commercials.

  9. docrice says:

    How is this big news? Many companies do this…my company has offered several packages through the years – whether its called “attrition”, “voluntary lay off”, etc., basically it works the same: tell them you’ll leave and sign to leave on a specific date (which may be very short term or as much as a year or two, depending on the circumstances). When you go, you get a bonus. Is it better than maybe getting fired and getting unemployment? Depends on what they offer. If they offer a couple months worth of benefits and, say, 4 months pay, then I’d say its worth it. It all depends on your situation…

    • stacye says:

      @docrice: Generally when a company has a round of lay-offs, they offer severance packages. The amount you get depends on how long you have been with the company.

      You can collect your severance, and collect unemployment benefits. The only thing with accepting severance is, if you agree to take it, you can’t turn around and say negative things about the company.

    • Mary says:

      @docrice: yeah, severence packages and voluntary resignations aren’t anything weird, I also fail to see the newsworthiness of this. Lately it has been happening every day in this country.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      @docrice: 4 months’ pay? What color is the sky on your planet?

      Severance packages don’t happen often anymore, and even when they do, they’re more like 2 weeks’ pay, if that. At lots of places the severance package is allowing you to take home the personal items in your cube instead of tossing them in the trash.

  10. taney71 says:

    Not sure what the fuss is about. This stuff happens all the time in the private and public sectors. I remember one government agency that pushed out a bunch of black staffers and the congressional black caucus got involved. Nothing really happened because these people’s jobs weren’t needed because of technology improvements but it wasn’t the best public relations move.

  11. oldtaku says:

    I just left Sprint because none of their employees could help me with a simple request. Just kept reading from their stupid policy book. They’ve now lost years of my monthly service fees over $200 of their stupid; so keep at it guys, I’m sure this will solve your fundamental problems, eh.

  12. CyrusOpeth says:

    I don’t understand why this is consumer news at all. Any company of any size adjusts its personnel roster regularly, and one of the tools they have is the buyout. And remember, the answer is always “no” unless you ask–maybe some people will LOVE what they have to offer. Everyone has a different circumstance. This is meaningless to consumers. The only people this might be “news” to are people who have never, ever been in or around the corporate world. But it has zero to do with consuming Sprint’s product. Let me ask this: where was the big announcement when Sprint was hiring people? Was that consumer news?

    • trunkwontopen says:

      @CyrusOpeth: It’s because it’s news that may affect the support that we are “comfortable” with over at Sprint. Us, being Sprint customers, mind you.

      And, yeah, it can be said that any company that adjusts its personnel roster can be classified as “normal behavior and readjustement” especially after a merger, however, it can also lead to something that is a bit more frugal down the pipes.

    • nursetim says:

      @CyrusOpeth:
      It sounds like these staff reductions are coming on the technical side, which likely will affect customers since Sprint has a lousy reputation for customer service now.

  13. kwsventures says:

    Take the money and leave. Sprint is going BK.

  14. johnarlington says:

    Its always better ti leave when the company still has some money to pay out in the form of a severance package. If you wait for them to fold up, you get nothing. And preferably one would find a new job prior to jumping ship rendering the unemployment point moot.

    • kingofallcosmos says:

      @johnarlington:
      In an economy with plenty of jobs available, it is best to leave voluntarily, but as a jobseeker in this economy, I can say that you do not want to be unemployed right now, unless you really want to be making at least 25% less than you did before.

  15. captainpicard says:

    this is better than what most companies do to avoid paying unemployment. they just cut your hours down to next to nothing so you quit.

  16. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    That photo is only a quick Perez Hilton scribble away from being truly obscene.

  17. J.Heck says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. Most places that are suffering do this. I know the “Big 3″ is doing the same to/for their employees. My mom took her offer of 100K from Chrysler and ran for the hills.

  18. Chongo says:

    For discussion sake:

    What would YOU do?

    I’m actually kind of curious because I don’t know what I would do. First thing that comes to mind is the obvious unemployment figures and all the competition you would be facing trying to get another job. At the same time though, its been getting so bad that it can only get better right? Maybe I’m just being Naive (or hopeful)?

  19. ludwigk says:

    Why doesn’t their HR department do its job, and keep the best people and terminate those who are less able? Do they really think that letting employees self-select will lead to a more optimal result? In that case, they must REALLY not care about their people.

  20. sephiroth_4 says:

    I’d take the money and run for the hills, but don’t touch my SERO!

  21. wagnerism says:

    John Garcia is gone

    [www2.sprint.com]

    …so they’re cutting across the board

  22. Bargaineering.com says:

    Step one is voluntary, step 2 is involuntary.

  23. quail says:

    I stuck with Sprint for the longest time. For years they were the only ones that had a pricing structure that wasn’t all over the map for a traveling businessman. You know, travel out of your calling zone and we get to stick it to you. I’m still with them, but have considered porting my number elsewhere.

  24. frogman31680 says:

    I currently work as an “Authorized Retailer” for sprint and I HATE selling their service. I usually sit on the phone for an hour waiting for someone to figure out what they are doing and I always seem to reach some low paid person that can’t speak english.

    If they are laying off some of those people, I’m afraid of what can be worse.

  25. Corporate-Shill says:

    Take the package.

    Take the package.

    Take the package.

    Take the package.

    In case you missed it the first couple times I said it…

    Take the package.

    Take the package.

    Take the package.

    • Haltingpoint says:

      @Corporate-Shill: Why? You don’t give any compelling reasons to. In fact, I’d be very inclined NOT to take the package in this economy. You keep your job longer which helps while you are actively seeking another job while waiting for them to fire you, and if/when they DO lay you off, you get unemployment benefits which you wouldn’t if you took the package.

      Willing to bet that the value of unemployment benefits trumps the value of Sprint’s offered package by several orders of magnitude given the level of the employees likely to be laid off.

  26. EdgarAsclepius says:

    Hey,

    I take it the US has no concept called ‘voluntary redundancy’.
    They ofter take place before manditory redundancies.
    The company (or govt agency) asks for volunteers from people who would be happy to leave [with redundancy payment]. They usually have a target number/locations etc that they announce.

    If undersubscribed then they usually have a following round on the not so voluntary redundancies.

    I worked Fed gov in OZ and they had a funny version of the manditory redundancies – the swap. Redundancies were always oversubscribed in one state and undersubscribed in aother. So you could swap. one of the oversubscribers would swap positions with the people in another state who ten moved to take that persons job.

    Trust me – asking for colunteers before pushing is a good thing.

    KT

  27. u1itn0w2day says:

    I like the idea of having a buyout or exit package on the table AHEAD of time year round .I’ve left companies and found out almost 3 months after the fact I was entitled to a buyout .If I had known this upfront my plans would have changed completely .And that’s the point: a buyout with an exact dollar figure makes it much easier to plan .

    As many good people that might leave alot of the not so good might take it as well .You might insult people with a poor buyout but a voluntary buyout doesn’t cause the consternation of layoffs and/or fake firings .

  28. Chairman-Meow says:

    Says a spokesperson, “No one is being forced to do anything. There are no forced reductions. There are no layoffs in store. It’s a matter of employees having the option to exercise discretion. No targets have been announced.”

    Oh look ! writing on the wall….and…its …..trying….to….tell…me….something.

  29. mzs says:

    This type of plan was offered in two places I have worked. It is actually quite common. You see two groups of people take advantage of it. People that were about to retire anyway and people that already have a job lined-up (even though a clause says that is not allowed, nobody cared if nobody talked).

    I was upset one time since at the first place even though such a program was in place, three tiers of management kept it hush-hush and I was not able to take advantage of it even though I was bailing before things turned ugly anyway. The managers only told the people they knew they were going to be laying off shortly anyway.

    The other place was very forthright about the situation, much better.

    I like this scheme better than the other one I encountered. Cut everyone’s hours so they get paid less. Then the ones that need to find new jobs because of the lower pay will. Then you can get back to regular hours. The reason I did not like that is because of all the extra work I had to do in less hours, all the extra work I had to pick-up as others left, and the fact that I did not know when it would end. (2 months, 4, a year?)

  30. Urgleglurk says:

    Very common, actually. They look for volunteers first, and then wield the axe on the optomists that stay behind. If you have reason to think your employer might file for Chapter 11 or 7, it’s best to take the package and run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

    Oh, and take the check to the company’s bank and CASH it. I know people from Eastern Air Lines, Braniff Airlines #2 and Continental Air Lines #1 that still have their last paychecks framed on their walls. They were returned from their banks with “NSF” stamped on them.
    Chances are your local managers don’t know the entire story about how bad things really are – It is not wise to rely totally on what they tell you.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I work for a major casino chain and we sort of do the same thing. We ask for volunteer resignations. They usually get a very nice severance and there’s always a large amount of volunteers. They get something like 6 months severance with their full medical benefits. They can even get another job and continue to receive their severance package. Don’t know if Sprint does this though.

  32. guspaz says:

    @undefined: On the other hand, if you can get another job lined up, this could be quite beneficial; you get a nice bonus when changing jobs.