Workplace

Sprint cuts 452 jobs at its Overland Park headquarters, with more local layoffs to come

The Sprint cutbacks disclosed Friday are the first installment of local layoffs planned throughout October. In March, Sprint laid off 477 employees in Overland Park, which makes the local total this year 929.
The Sprint cutbacks disclosed Friday are the first installment of local layoffs planned throughout October. In March, Sprint laid off 477 employees in Overland Park, which makes the local total this year 929. The Kansas City Star

Sprint Corp. disclosed Friday that it has cut 452 jobs at its Overland Park headquarters this month, bringing local cuts to more than 900 this year.

The cutbacks reported Friday are the first installment of local layoffs planned throughout October. The report does not cover any job losses outside the headquarters campus, though they are believed to be happening too.

Job reviews are still underway, and Sprint has not said how many total jobs probably will be lost here or across the company’s operations.

Friday’s disclosure said the local cuts were permanent and more would come.

“We anticipate additional reduction activity in the next few weeks and will provide an updated list of impacted positions,” said a notice filed with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

In March, Sprint laid off 477 employees in Overland Park, which makes the local total this year 929. Many of the employees in the first round of cuts had worked at a call center that was shut down.

Before the newly disclosed layoffs, about 7,500 worked for Sprint in the Kansas City area, including some employees who weren’t at the headquarters.

A total of about 33,000 work for the company, down from 36,000 at the end of March and down from 38,000 at the end of last year. The decline accounts for layoffs, retirements and people leaving for other reasons, but the company also has hired new employees in some areas.

Marcelo Claure, who was named chief executive in August, has said the company is reviewing every dollar spent in an effort to cut costs. Sprint also has been cutting prices to lure customers, giving added impetus to the cost reductions.

“Claure’s big push is to reduce costs so they can be the most cost efficient operator and compete effectively on price,” said Berge Ayvazian, an industry consultant at UBM Tech.

Ayvazian said he expected to see recent job cuts of more than 1,000, and Sprint had room to operate more efficiently.

“There are a lot of layers of people who seem to pad the Sprint payroll,” Ayvazian said. “It’s a matter of how deep and how much you want to cut costs.”

Public notices of job cuts sometimes are required under the federal WARN Act, which stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

Notice is necessary when a company closes a work site or discontinues an operating unit with at least 50 workers, issues 49 to 499 layoff notices that amount to at least a third of its workers at a site, or lays off 500 or more at a single site.

The idea is to give workers advance notice of job cuts so they and their families can prepare for the job loss, look for other work or seek new skills.

Friday’s disclosure was Sprint’s second public layoff notice in Overland Park this year. In March, it cut 477 Overland Park jobs, including 201 call center account service representatives.

The local cuts disclosed Friday came mostly in information technology and portfolio management, two of the four areas where Sprint has said it was reviewing staffing levels. Some covered by Friday’s notice were managers in Sprint’s network and technology groups, which also are under review, with job cuts expected this month.

Financially, Sprint has recorded $160 million in severance and related costs from its anticipated job cuts, not just locally but throughout the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

Sprint has said the current job cuts stem from reviews that were underway before Claure became CEO.

Claure told Wall Street analysts and investors last month that he had an extensive list of unnecessary spending to eliminate, that some kinds of business would be dropped and that monitors were in place to track “every single dollar that gets spent out of Sprint.”

Although Claure did not say job cuts were coming, a company spokeswoman had confirmed the current review would lead to job reductions this month.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at mdkcstar.

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