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Apple tells San Diego Siri quality control team to relocate to Texas or get fired

In a nutshell: Apple wants to combine its Siri quality control employees in San Diego, California, with its sister department in Austin, Texas. The 121 employees have until the end of January to decide if they will relocate. Those who refuse could be let go on April 26.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the edict with Bloomberg. The Data Operations Annotations department’s primary duties involve listening to Siri interactions to determine ways the voice assistant could respond to queries better. The spokeswoman said all members of the San Diego branch have received the offer to continue their positions on the Texas campus.

“[We want to bring our] Data Operations Annotations teams in the US together at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based.” said Apple’s spokeswoman. “Everyone currently employed will have the opportunity to continue their role with Apple in Austin.”

Employees at the California department were surprised by the ultimatum. When Apple first announced the move late last year or in early January, most were under the impression that they would be relocating to another California campus. Texas is a substantial move (about 1,300 miles), and most have indicated they are unwilling to uproot, which isn’t all that surprising considering the brief timeframe.

Apple is offering $7,000 in moving expenses for workers who transplant themselves in Texas. As one who relocated to Texas in 2019, $7,000 is short for moving a family of four. While going to California is relatively easy, getting out of the state is quite expensive.

As of five years ago, moving truck rentals leaving cost three times that of those coming into the Golden State. Moving from the Central Valley to San Antonio cost my family $10,000. That cost includes food and lodging for the three-day journey, move-in expenses to the new digs, and new household items like stocking the pantry, toiletries and other incidentals.

Employees who have not agreed to relocate by January 31 will have until April 26 to find another role in the company, quit, or face termination. Many say they are unqualified to fill any current openings in West Coast offices.

Those who will not or cannot move or transfer to a new position will receive a severance package that includes four weeks of pay plus an additional week for every year they worked for Apple. They will also retain their company-provided health care for six months after termination.

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