TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ MCI laid off about 200 workers in Oklahoma Friday, despite an agreement with state authorities to settle fraud charges by adding 1,600 jobs in the state over the next decade.
The layoffs came as part of the McLean, Va.-based telecommunications giant's May 11 announcement that it would eliminate 7,500 jobs, or 15 percent of its work force, spokeswoman Stephanie Scott said.
``Reductions like this are always a regrettable last resort, but market pressures on MCI's traditional consumer business left us no choice but to streamline,'' Scott said.
The Oklahoma layoffs came across all of MCI's divisions, and full-time employees will get severance of between six weeks or six months pay, depending on their positions, the company said.
MCI, formerly known as WorldCom, settled 15 charges of securities laws violations with Oklahoma's attorney general in March and agreed to assist prosecutors with their cases against former executives of the long-distance company.
Under the settlement, MCI agreed to add 160 jobs each year over the next 10 years, or make a monetary payment if the company is not able to add the jobs in a given year. The layoffs indicate MCI will not meet the goal this year and will have to make a payment.
``This is just one year in a 10-year agreement, and unfortunately economic conditions do not favor jobs growth,'' Scott said. ``But hopefully, these trends will not be permanent.''
``The company will make good on its obligations under the settlement,'' she said.
MCI emerged from bankruptcy in April after two years of operating under court protection. It announced the job reductions May 10 as it reported a first quarter loss of $388 million or $1.19 per share.
The company said at the time that those reductions and 4,500 job cuts announced earlier would allow it to save $600 million a year and return to profitability.
At MCI's sprawling Tulsa offices, where the company employed about 1,875 people, laid-off workers carried boxes containing their belongings to their cars all morning long. The majority of the layoffs were in Tulsa.
Before Friday's layoff, MCI employed about 2,000 workers in the state.