Dish reshuffles some retail positions to Denver

The same day Dish Network announced a merger with EchoStar, Dish informed a number of employees that they would need to move to the Denver area or lose their jobs.

It’s unknown the exact number of positions that are affected. Reports of layoffs surfaced on social media on Tuesday and continued through the week

A Dish statement characterized it as a necessary course of action.

“Like most businesses, we continually evaluate and make adjustments to ensure we’re set up for long-term success,” the company stated in response to emailed questions from Fierce. “As a result, we are relocating positions from remote retail wireless offices (Overland Park, Kansas; Roseland, New Jersey; and Costa Mesa, California) to the Denver metro area in order to better meet the needs of our growing business. We expect to complete position relocations by October 9, 2023.”

The October date lines up with messaging that Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton posted on social media earlier this week and with information a source shared with Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research. Employees said they were given 60 days to move or be out of a job.

“If they’re telling everybody to relocate to Denver, that’s a pretty uncomfortable process on multiple levels,” Moore told Fierce. For one, it’s just plain hard to move, especially in this economy. “People have families and relationships,” he said. On another level, “what exactly is Dish doing with its future?”

Reports of layoffs at Dish have surfaced before and one former employee surmised the layoffs are staggered to avoid having to publicly report them and/or provide severance. For example, the last time layoffs were reported, it did not trigger a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) with the state of Colorado. Dish is headquartered in the Denver suburb of Englewood. 

Dish’s moves, albeit on a smaller scale, are similar in some ways to what AT&T did earlier this year when it told 60,000 managers to return to work in person in one of nine of the company’s offices, despite the employees living far away from these locations. Outraged employees said it was a way to disguise mass layoffs.

It also appears to be going in the opposite direction of how Verizon is switching from a national model to a regional strategy – one that Verizon CFO Tony Skiadas talked about during an investor conference this week. It’s a structure Verizon has followed previously where promotional offers are tailored to a more local level.

Moore, who spent more than 10 years working at Sprint, said he saw firsthand at Sprint how that kind of strategy changes on a regular basis, where for a while they’ll pursue the local strategy until it doesn’t work. “The national strategy usually coincides with cuts,” Moore said.

Dish has been steadily losing Boost Mobile customers since it acquired the business in 2020. The company reported this week that it closed Q2 with 7.73 million retail wireless subscribers. Boost Mobile had about 9 million customers when Dish acquired it as part of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger.

Overland Park, Kansas, was the headquarters for Sprint, whose logo featured the color yellow. Another company with significant operations in Overland Park is Yellow Corp., the trucking company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday.