About 600 SBC Ameritech workers across Illinois will lose their jobs just a few days after Christmas. In Rockford, at least 21 jobs will be affected.
Gary Schroeder and Chuck Roloff say Christmas this year will be different than most.
"There won't be as many presents under the tree, but that's not the true meaning of Christmas anyway," says Schroeder. "It won't be the same as last year," says Roloff.
Schroeder and Roloff were notified that they would be laid-off from their cable splicing technician jobs at SBC about two weeks ago. They've had to make some changes since then. Roloff says his family, "really has to get down to crunch time and conserve our cash."
"I'll have to sign up for unemployment so we have income and then pursue other jobs," says Schroeder.
Roloff says SBC wanted to lower hours for workers and eliminate next year's bonus but their union said no. "I'd rather work 37 and a half hours, than lose everything and be sitting at home."
But there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Both Schroeder and Roloff have a chance to be called back by the company if another job opens in the near future. "We can get that call back and a lot of people may retire in that two year period," says Schroeder.
Bottom line though: They're both really going to miss their job.
Schroeder says he's unique. "A lot of people don't like their job, but I liked my job. I got to be outside a lot. I was a good job." Roloff says he's going to miss it. "I was a fun job, it was really great."
Both men say they have no hard feelings towards Ameritech. They say it was a great company to work for and would definitely consider working for them again.