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Stream call center nears closing.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

Service agents at Stream's call center in downtown Eugene will take their last phone calls next Friday, when the company's remaining 100 Eugene workers will lose their jobs, a Stream spokeswoman said.

Stream's workers have known that the end was near since late June, when the Texas-based company revealed that it lost a key contract to provide customer support for Symantec Corp. software. That work was performed by the call center at 133 W. Broadway.

At the time, Stream told its 206 regular, full-time employees and 170 part-time, temporary employees that their jobs would probably end as of Aug. 23. Stream later extended the termination date by about a month.

By now, most of Stream's Eugene work force has quit or found other work, Stream spokeswoman Kim McCann said.

The 100 remaining employees will be out of work at the end of next week, McCann said.

Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., has not disclosed who it chose to handle the customer support work. Stream employees speculated that Symantec had hired a call center in India, where wages are far lower..

McCann said Stream hasn't lined up other contracts for the Eugene call center, but the company hasn't decided yet whether to permanently close it.

Company executives probably will decide what to do with the location in about a month, McCann said.

Stream subleases the 46,000-square-foot building from Symantec, which in turn leases it from Eugene real estate investors Tom Connor and Don Woolley. About two years remain on Stream's subleasing agreement.

Symantec had occupied the building before it constructed a 190,000-square-foot office complex in Springfield's Gateway area.

In a cost-cutting move, Symantec in 2002 laid off 270 people at its Springfield office and contracted out the software support work to call center operator Spectrum Contact Services. Spectrum hired 227 employees - many of them former Symantec employees - and opened a call center at the West Broadway site. Spectrum subcontracted the Internet support piece of the Symantec contract to Indian firm iSeva. That work involved about 50 jobs in India.

In the past two years, the call center has gone through ownership and name changes. Spectrum Contact Services became ECE, then Stream.

Stream employees have provided customer and technical service to individual consumers using Symantec's software.

Staff at Symantec's Springfield facility provide customer and technical support to Symantec's large customers, such as businesses and government agencies.

Stream has five call centers in the United States - including one each in Eugene and Beaverton - four in Canada, nine in Europe and two in India.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:428
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