Spectrum is looking to hire at least 100 customer service workers for its call center in Portland.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic resulted in thousands of Mainers filing for unemployment, Spectrum had planned to expand its workforce to help deliver and manage internet, television, voice and mobile networks, the company said Monday.

“Now more than ever, our essential workforce continues to provide the critical task of helping customers stay connected during this very challenging time,” said Lara Pritchard, senior director of communications for the Northeast region. “People are out of work, and we have jobs available that will help us to continue to deliver and support the communities we serve.”

The company also announced a $1.50 hourly raise for field operations and customer service employees, retroactive to last month when they received their regular annual merit increases. That lifts Spectrum’s minimum wage to $16.50 and is part of a plan to raise wages to at least $20 per hour by 2022.

“Because of the important work we do, there will continue to be crises we will face, including hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires and ice storms for as long as we are in business,” said Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge, in a memo to employees Monday. “We keep people connected no matter what. It’s the obligation we have to the communities we serve.”

Charter operates under the brand name Spectrum.

Pritchard said pre-screening and interviewing of job applicants will be conducted over the phone or via computer.

When asked about concerns over coronavirus infection inside the call center by an employee who contacted the Portland Press Herald but asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, Pritchard said Spectrum is applying the latest guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She pointed to daily disinfection of high-touch areas, implementation of remote coaching and meetings, altering lunch and break schedules to limit the number of people in cafeterias, and support for escalated customer issues being handled via a chatroom or lead desk to limit people walking the floor and interacting in person.

The call center on Washington Avenue currently has about 120 employees, Pritchard said.


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