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.
“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.”