Thursday, April 29, 2004

In the upcoming merger of Fleet Bank and Bank of America, they've pledged to maintain employment levels in New England. Which doesn't mean that they're maintaining the same jobs:

Bank of America Corp. has quietly eliminated the majority of former FleetBoston Financial Corp. employees on the 12th floor of its Boston headquarters, including much of Fleet's treasury and global capital markets divisions. ...

One employee estimated there are about 100 people left, less than one-third of the employees who worked there just a few months ago, describing the floor as "desolate." Many of the workers remaining are scheduled to move out soon.

So, what will make up for the vacancies?

As it combines operations with Fleet, Bank of America also is stressing its commitment to maintaining the same number of New England employees overall. But to date, higher-paying jobs have been eliminated, and most jobs that have been added are lower-paying back-office jobs.

Bank of America, which outsourced some human relations work to Fidelity Investments this month, said it intends to count the 375 jobs created in that deal toward its Northeast commitment -- even though the new employees actually will work for Fidelity.

The gains in call center and back-office jobs will come in Marlborough and Merrimack, N.H., where Fidelity already has operations. Those jobs tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale. ...

The bank spokeswoman, Hale, would not comment on whether the bank would pack New England with low-paid employees to keep its pledge. But she said the bank intends to live up to its overall promise.

They promised jobs. Just not good ones.


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