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Qwest trims 10 percent of Colorado IT workers
About 100 nonunion information-technology employees in Denver received notice Thursday.
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer 
Denver Post
Friday, February 16, 2007

Qwest laid off 10 percent of its information-technology workforce in Colorado on Thursday, according to its union, as the Denver-based company continues to shed jobs amid accelerating losses in phone customers.

The layoffs affected about 100 nonunion employees in Denver, said Reed Roberts, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America District 7.

Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs declined to comment Thursday about the layoffs.

Qwest cut about 1,300 jobs in 2006, including 600 in Colorado.  Over the past two years, the company shed 3,000 positions, including about 1,300 in the state.

"We continue to adjust our workforce in response to changes in the telecommunications industry and productivity improvements," the company said in its 2006 annual report.

The Denver-based phone company posted profits last year largely because of cost cuts and growth in high-speed Internet subscribers.  It continues to lose phone customers to cable and Internet-based phone companies at an accelerating clip.

At the end of 2006, Qwest employed nearly 38,400 people, about 9,400 in Colorado.

Also Thursday, Qwest chief executive Dick Notebaert said consolidation in the industry will continue and that the company could either make an acquisition or be acquired.

Analysts say Qwest is unlikely to be acquired because it is saddled with about $14.9 billion in debt.  Qwest also doesn't have a long-term video strategy to combat competition from cable companies such as Comcast.

Notebaert told CNBC that Qwest will not split into three separate companies -- rural, urban/suburban and long-haul.  CIBC World Markets analyst Tim Horan said in a research note this week that the company could create shareholder value if it were split up.

Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or avuong@denverpost.com.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_5237060