The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Hundreds laid off in Bank of America, Fleet merger

by C.P. Pandya

Aug. 19, 2004 – Over 1,500 bank tellers and other employees at Fleet bank branches across the US were given pink slips yesterday as Bank of America wraps up its $48 billion April 2004 merger with FleetBoston Financial, according to the Boston Globe, which cited an anonymous "branch manager" on the number of lay offs. Some were told they had to leave their jobs immediately.

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While the banking giant wouldn't give an exact figure on how many people were recently laid off, the latest round of job cuts is part of Bank of America's merger target to slash 12,500 jobs -- a facet of its "cost savings" plan.

The Globe noted that the cuts may be part of the new mega-bank's strategy to cut costs by hiring more part-time workers in favor of a full-time work force. Hundreds of Fleet employees came to work as usual Wednesday only to be told they would need to switch branches, reduce or change their hours, or that they had lost their job altogether.

"My manager said, 'I need you to leave before 9 a.m. because we don't want to have any impact on the customers," one former Fleet employee in Pennsylvania told the Globe. "I was shocked. I was completely blindsided."

The increasing use of part-time employees, one bank manager said, allows Bank of America to say it is adding employees to bank branches instead of having to label it a lay-off of current workers.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

C.P. Pandya is a contributing journalist.

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