AOL laying off 1,300, closing calls centers


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- AOL announced Wednesday it will lay off 1,300 employees by closing call centers in New Mexico and Arizona as part of a previously announced restructuring plan.

AOL, the Time Warner Inc. online unit formerly known as America Online, also plans to sell its call center in Ogden, Utah.

The cuts include 900 layoffs at the Albuquerque call center and 400 jobs at the center in Tucson, Ariz., AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said. The Arizona and New Mexico call centers each have operated for 10 years.

The closures are part of a restructuring plan that Dulles, Va.-based AOL announced in August. At the time, the company said as many as 5,000 employees would be laid off within six months -- a quarter of its global work force.

"These decisions were very difficult to make, given our long tenure in Albuquerque and Tucson, but they're necessary in terms of the needs of the company and our users," Graham said.

The Arizona and New Mexico employees were informed of the layoffs Wednesday morning, then given the day off. They will return to work Thursday and continue employment with AOL through Dec. 15, when they'll be offered a severance package that provides a combination of salary and benefits.

AOL did not disclose which company will purchase the Utah facility.