Yellow Pages to lay off 545 workers across the U.S., ship jobs to India

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New York - Nurses protesting last year outside the headquarters of Cerberus Capital Management, which owns several hospitals, used inflatable dogs instead of the familiar inflatable rats, to symbolize the company’s namesake, the canine monster in Greek mythology that guarded the gates of hell. – New York Times photo by Ruth Fremson.
New York - Nurses protesting last year outside the headquarters of Cerberus Capital Management, which owns several hospitals, used inflatable dogs instead of the familiar inflatable rats, to symbolize the company’s namesake, the canine monster in Greek mythology that guarded the gates of hell. – New York Times photo by Ruth Fremson.

 92 CWA Local 6300 members in St. Louis to lose their jobs

Old fashioned greed will force 545 American workers, most of them CWA union members with upwards of 29 years on the job working for the Yellow Pages across America, to watch as their jobs are shipped to India this summer. In St. Louis, 120 workers are impacted, 92 of them CWA Local 6300 members.

“It’s not that they don’t need the skill of these people, they do. And it’s not that the company is losing money, they aren’t. It’s simply greed, a move to make more money for a company that’s already extremely profitable,” said Mike Mehringer, president, CWA Local 6300. “It’s Americans taking advantage of other Americans. That’s really sad.”

Other cities seeing layoffs for the same reason include Michigan (145), San Francisco (163) and Dallas (117).

Last year, Yellow Pages owner AT&T sold its directory operations to Cerberus Capital Management for $950 million, although it still owns 47 percent of the new company, YP Holdings.

The union is in the process of negotiating the best possible layoff package for its members, Mehringer said. “This not only impacts the workers, it impacts their families and we’re doing out best to try and protect them as much as possible,” he told the Labor Tribune.

The jobs impacted include customer service, graphic design and web management.

Mehringer made the point that this is not a necessary cost-cutting measure, but rather an effort to simply make more money. “Corporate officials have told us that the company is in good financial shape.”

‘LYING DOG’

According to a report in the New York Times, Cerberus manages about $20 billion in capital and owns companies with revenue of about $40 billion. It is best known for its ill-fated purchase of Chrysler before the government stepped in to rescue the company.

This is not the only case Cerberus has been accused of profiteering.

At a rally in New York in Dec., 2011 at Cerberus’ headquarters, members of National Nurses United accused the company of sacrificing patient care for profit at the 10 hospitals the company purchased in the Boston area.

Their rally used giant inflatable dogs to symbolize the company’s namesake, the three-headed canine monster in Greek mythology that guarded the gates of hell to keep souls from trying to escape, said the New York Times article.

“Cerberus Is a Lying Dog,” the nurses picket signs said. “The Cerberus company has created a hell of its own,” said Karen Higgins, a co-president of the national union, echoing charges by its Massachusetts affiliate that Steward, the health care company created by Cerberus, has cut patient care to increase its profits.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that Americans are willing to sacrifice other Americas in the name of greed,” Mehringer added.

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