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Cary, Durham WorldCom Employees Receive Pink Slips

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CARY, N.C. — WorldCom

recently announced plans that the company was slashing 17,000 jobs nationwide. Pink slips were handed out in Cary and Durham Friday morning.

Cary is home to WorldCom's Global Network Management Center, where communications for the Federal Aviation Administration and the NASDAQ feed through. Several workers at the Cary plant heard about the news Friday morning.

"They just called us into a room and just told us that because of realignment of the company, today would be our last day," former employee Josey Marshall said.

Four years ago, before it was bought by WorldCom, MCI was growing quickly. A contract with the postal service brought hundreds of jobs.

"It's growing quick and this is becoming a major hub, telecommunications hub from the Raleigh-Durham area. We manage all of MCI's network," said MCI's Kevin Gahan in an August 1998 interview.

This week, WorldCom, the nation's second largest long distance telephone carrier, admitted to disguising almost $4 billion in losses. Thursday, a U.S. House committee subpoenaed top company leaders to compel testimony.

Layoffs also struck at WorldCom's postal service operations center in Durham on Friday. Career strategist Ellen Baker said many of those laid-off can find jobs, but they must be versatile and networked.

"Take the specific skills they have, more than one hopefully, and apply them to other industries. That's how you recession-proof your career basically," she said.

Former employee Brian Weaver was laid off Friday, but he said he is looking at things positively.

"There's a lot of tech companies around. That's the type of work that I do, so I'll be staying in this area and looking at some of the other tech companies," he said.

WorldCom has more than 2,500 workers in the Triangle. Officials said more than 220 people in North Carolina will lose their jobs in the company. WorldCom workers in Texas, Maryland, Colorado and Virginia were also affected by the news of the company's layoffs.

WorldCom employees are not the only ones concerned. The state pension plan has lost almost $100 million in WorldCom stock during the past year.

The state treasurer's office said retired state employees, teachers and local government workers can be assured the pension is still sound.


Valonda Calloway, Reporter
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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