Williams Communications is a company awash in uncertainty. Trading suspended on the New York Stock Exchange and planning 800 job cuts, it's tough to go to work each day at their downtown Tulsa headquarters and listen to the speculation.
But Williams' Senior Vice President for Communications Robert Harvin told KOTV Tuesday afternoon Williams' workers are plugging ahead, trying to concentrate on stabilizing the companyâ€™s shaky bottom line while waiting for possible pink slips. "And these are not necessarily happy times for Williams Communications because any of the employees that will be let go are like family to us and we will treat them with a severance package, we will treat them with respect and we do hopefully in the future as we continue to grow and meet the needs of consumers be able to bring these people back to the Williams Communications family.â€
Harvin says most all of those who will lose their jobs will know by Tuesday. 500 job cuts will be made in Tulsa, 300 others will come from the company's worldwide operations.
In related news, Williams Companies won approval Tuesday to restructure a $1.4 billion debt obligation, ending the potential that it could be forced to pay the entire amount in 60 days.
The energy company will make semi-annual interest payments on the debt and will assume responsibility for full payment by 2004, said company spokesman Jim Gipson.
The debt belonged to Williams Communications Group, a former subsidiary of Williams Cos. When it spun off the subsidiary, Williams Cos. agreed to pay the $1.4 billion within 60 days if Williams Communications sought bankruptcy protection or couldn't service the debt.
Williams Communications is now considering bankruptcy.