April Gallegos, a senior representative at the West Side Verizon call center, is going to spend her bonus on credit card debt, shopping and maybe a trip to the casino.[From ABQJOURNAL NEWS/STATE: Call Center Gives Bonuses - and It's Hiring Hundreds]
Her what? Bonus? In this economy?
At a time when a lot of companies around Albuquerque and nationwide are canceling raises, suspending bonuses and freezing pensions, Phoenix-based Verizon is shaking the hand that bakes its bread.
"Sometimes, companies use the economy to justify not taking care of their employees," said Robyn Lumb, human resources manager for the call center at Coors and Central SW. "That's not the company I work for. There was no conversation about not giving the STIs (short term incentive raises).
"The company is performing very well, and that's because of our employees. They are the foundation of our company. They are the ones out there taking the calls every day. It's a tough job."
On Friday, the call center's 1,270 employees got performance-based bonuses of up to 8 percent of their salaries, Lumb said. Bonuses are based on company and employee performance for 2008.
Starting salaries at Verizon are $27,000; $28,500 for bilingual call-takers. Nationwide, Verizon employs 86,000 people and has 26 call centers. They all got bonuses Friday.