AT&T: Claim of 1,800 Layoffs Is ‘Misleading’


layoff pink slips

AT&T has started notifying employees that their jobs are at risk as part of its plans to cut 1,880 U.S. jobs during the next few months, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

The CWA said job-cut notifications began Thursday, impacting AT&T technicians in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

This follows AT&T reportedly gearing up for layoffs in early January.

AT&T spokesman Marty Richter tells Channel Partners that due to “changes as our business and industry continue to evolve, we are making some staff reductions involving technicians who install and repair certain services and network systems.” The telecommunications giant isn’t commenting on numbers or locations.

AT&T's Marty Richter

AT&T’s Marty Richter

“It would be misleading to refer to this as ‘layoffs,‘” Richter said. “Most affected CWA-represented employees, includ[ing] affected employees in the Midwest and Southwest, have a job offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company — only those who volunteer to leave or decline a job offer will leave the company. In the Southeast, affected employees can choose to participate in our Job Bank Program for up to a year, during which time they receive a severance payment, continue to receive benefits and accrue credit for their pension, and can receive priority consideration and relocation benefits (if applicable) for other job opportunities as a regular employee.”

The CWA said the new cuts come just days after it issued a series of reports showing AT&T’s network in the Midwest is in “disrepair even as it is reducing the number of trained, career employees.”

“Instead of celebrating with my children on Father’s Day, I had to tell them that their dad may not have a job soon,” said Todd Menth, an employee who said he’s facing a job cut in Kent, Ohio. “I’ve worked hard at AT&T for 19 years and I’m proud of my work. My message to AT&T is that it’s not too late to change course, to invest in next-generation networks and keep these good jobs in our community.”

You can keep up with the Channel Partners telecom and IT layoff tracker to see which companies are cutting jobs and how the channel is impacted.

Meanwhile, more than 14,000 CWA members in the Midwest, Puerto Rico and in AT&T’s national Legacy T unit are in contract negotiations with the carrier, and another 22,000 in the Southeast will begin negotiations this summer, according to the union.

In Puerto Rico, where AT&T workers “worked tirelessly to rebuild the AT&T network and help customers after Hurricane Maria,” the company is refusing to ensure its two Puerto Rican call centers will stay open, according to the CWA. Instead, AT&T recently opened Spanish-language call centers in Mexico that serve the U.S. market.

“Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, and the AT&T workers here played a critical role in making sure people could reach their loved ones,” said Daniel Borrero, an AT&T Mobility customer care representative in Puerto Rico. “Instead of acknowledging our dedication and investing in American jobs in the Commonwealth, AT&T seems to be directing Spanish-language work to other countries. After today’s news about major job cuts, Puerto Rican workers like me are worried we’re next.”

Richter said AT&T continues to hire in areas where it’s seeing increasing demand for products and services.

“But technology is changing rapidly and there are fewer jobs in parts of the industry that are declining and facing technology shifts, like our wireline business where these employees work,” he said. “Nationally, we lost nearly 1.9 million wireline access lines between 2016 and 2018 — a decrease of over 32 percent in just two years. In addition, the major TV providers saw an 80% year-over-year increase in cord cutting in the first quarter of this year and are currently losing 12,000 subscribers a day, according to recent story in Fast Company.”

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  1. Avatar ed June 19, 2019 @ 8:09 am

    but are they cutting data? that’s a big no. and the jobs being cut also work on data the one job that should be cut is the CEO. he has made bad decision after bad decision . he has cost att billions and countless jobs but yet he still has one . remember he was the mastermind behind the t mobile merger, the purchase of d tv and HBO

  2. Avatar John Fu June 19, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

    This guy is so full of sh**. He makes it sound like they are going to offer everyone a job in the same area or state they currently work in, which could happen but most of the time the jobs are in a totally different state. So thinking people can just up and move an entire family with a 24 hour decision timeline and 2-3 weeks to make is ridiculous. I’d let to know how many people actually end up taking the glorious job offers. What a crock this guy is. Idiot.

  3. Avatar Kent June 19, 2019 @ 6:57 pm

    I am one of the people going to the house
    There are 910 more going with me on the list
    the company put out for the southeast. All will be gone by September 28.

  4. Avatar Joe evans June 20, 2019 @ 11:39 am

    This moron is misleading the public to save face for the union management! Ibew and cwa have been in bed with the company for years. There is no representation. Randy has been running this once great company into the ground since he took over. And yes Marty the affected employees are guaranteed a job offer with the company. What you fail to mention is that the job could be anywhere in the country not where you live. It will be at a lower pay scale, and most likely a position they weren’t trained for or care to do. And you are offered one job one time as the job comes down the list to you. And if you say no that’s it! You are done, off the books unemployed. Tell the full story! I should know cause I’ve been a lineman for 24 years!

  5. Avatar Brian June 26, 2019 @ 11:38 am

    Ranadall is a snowflake lib who has no clue. Correct on. C. W. A. Our money goes to the dem wit socialist party. Idiocracy

  6. Avatar Jess R July 19, 2019 @ 5:53 am

    John Fu is totally right! I am one of those employees with the glorious “guarantee job offer”, that is 5 states away from where I am now. With all the down sizing & none back filling jobs AT&T is doing, there are no jobs within the company to take advantage of the offer also! AT&T looks within your state first, then regionally i.e southeast, then nationally for jobs available. Simply put, AT&T has found a way around this offer. Customer service, network reliability are only a few items that will be suffering, at the cost of their greed!

  7. Avatar Jordan Leatherwood July 28, 2019 @ 9:09 am

    I am affected because of these layoffs. There is no job opportunities within the company like they are stating. You cannot receive a severance payment and be on the list to come back once a position is available. This is a lie, its one or the other not both and i have there paperwork to prove it. Work in the splicing field has only slowed down because they have reduced outside placing contractors to one company that cannot keep up with demand or even do the job correctly. The work has been severely held back by the poor choices this company has made. Us techs work very hard for this company and this is how we are treated.

  8. Avatar Austin August 22, 2019 @ 7:34 pm

    They surplussed 4 good managers this month in Oklahoma, they do not offer a job offer or provide relocation costs. That’s a lie. They will allow you to interview for a chance of a job that’s across the country , that expect you to move within a week notice , which no one will do because that’s aweful to ask an employee, so they have no choice but to quit. Great company, horrible leaders up above making these decisions

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