Speculation of Call Center Closures Due to Accountability Avoidance by Purple Communications
Purple Communications has announced the closing of two current call centers, they are located in Denver, CO (scheduled to close on May 15, 2019) and Corona, CA (scheduled to close on June 15, 2019). [Corona Call center is considered one of their largest call centers.]
In contradiction to the way Purple has been treating their employees, On Feb 15, 2017, ZVRS announced their acquisition of Purple Communications.. ZVRS/Purple Communication stated” This will lead to better video relay services for customers of both companies. We’re committed to innovation and excellence.” Sherri Turpin (CEO of ZVRS/Purple)
Purple Communications has constantly been in the spotlight for their troubles with the Denver call center interpreters (Denver Interpreters had voted to become a Union Shop back in 2014)
April 22nd, 2014, ASLIU American Sign Language Interpreters United had announced that they filed a lawsuit and proceed to trial on the grounds of “covering unfair labor practices against Purple to a Federal Administrative Law (FAL) Judge”. ASLIU (Denver Call Center Interpreters) had accused Purple communications of unlawful actions by Purple Executives Management team. The accusation was on the grounds of the following:
• Failure to negotiate with the union before it began disciplining employees for not meeting the 2% utilization goal and before implementing changes to the teaming policy.
• Violating the rights of certain employees when it monitored them more closely than other employees, and when it disciplined them “in retaliation for their protected union activities.”
• Ordering employees to keep details of their investigative meetings with management secret.
• Ordering employees not to copy other employees on “emails they send to management about terms and conditions of employment.”
• Denying a union activist the opportunity to take advantage of the visiting VI policy in retaliation for her union activity.
• Ordering employees to remove union-related material from work areas where other non-work material is routinely posted.
• Targeting a union activist for an unfair 7-day suspension. (ASLIU)
According to our sources that Purple Communications was found guilty on multiple counts of Unfair Labor Practices by the Federal Administrative Law Judge, The Judge had made a ruling that favored the ASLIU on most counts. FAL Judge also mentioned that Purple Communications was supposed to post a notice saying they would honor the FAL Judge’s ruling. Purple has challenged this decision and in appeal process.
Last year, Purple Communications Interpreters were fighting for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), which had never occurred for the interpreters
Back in June 2018, The Deaf Report (formerly known as DSTidbits) published an article about that a high priced lawyer was hired by Purple Communications to fight the requests of interpreter’s, "We are now negotiating our renewal and our company #ZVRS / #PurpleVRS once again refuses to provide COLAs or raises or even make us whole from the cuts we took to help them pay fines for upper management decisions to commit fraud in 2010." Sarah Spencer
An anonymous interpreter who is being affected by the layoffs and closures of call centers has stated that they have seen a lot of employees quit because of “stagnant wages, worsening health care benefits and punitive working conditions”
The announcement of closure was sent out in form of an email.
Since Purple Communication has announced a “cost effective closing procedure,” of their Denver and Corona Centers, interpreters have stated that they suspect Purple Communications is avoiding accountability by getting rid of unionized locations such as Denver. Meanwhile, according to an anonymous source, “We [Corona call center] were the first call center to take a union vote. It was voted to delay until FCC came forth with their mandate of wages for interpeters. it was scheduled 6 months [2 years ago] after their vote.” The individual requested to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation.