JANUARY 29, 2019 UPDATE — COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA CLAIM AT&T LAID OFF 10,700 UNION WORKERS IN 2018 AND THE LAYOFFS ARE CONTINUING
According to Motherboard’s site, “AT&T is preparing for yet another significant round of layoffs according to internal documents obtained by Motherboard. The staff reductions come despite billions in tax breaks and regulatory favors AT&T promised would dramatically boost both investment and job creation.
A source at AT&T who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly told Motherboard that company leadership is planning what it’s calling a “geographic rationalization” and employment “surplus” reduction that will consolidate some aspects of AT&T operations in 10 major operational hubs in New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Washington State, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington, DC. A spokesperson for AT&T confirmed to Motherboard that it is planning to “adjust” its workforce.”
There is no holiday cheer at AT&T as they lay off more than 600 (up to an estimated 1,400) employees in five states, including technicians and customer service representatives in what they characterize as an “adjustment.” The spokesperson suggested that it was wrong to characterize the job actions as "layoffs" because "all are being offered the opportunity to relocate to other company facilities, and we hope many will stay with us."
And it must seem tragically ironic that AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson, told employees, "Once tax reform is signed into law, we plan to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 — all union represented, non-management and 1st and 2nd line managers — as added recognition for their dedication and hard work." That is if you are still employed!
According to one media release, “We’re adding people in many areas where we’re seeing increased customer demand for products and services. At the same time, technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we’re adjusting our workforce in some of those areas as we continue to align our workforce with the changing needs of the business. Many of the affected employees have a job offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company, and we’ll work to find other jobs for as many of them as possible.
As a result of decreasing work volume and to increase efficiency, we are consolidating some call center work currently done at one of our locations in Kansas City into another company located in San Antonio. Affected employees will be offered the opportunity to work in our center in San Antonio, and a relocation allowance. Work volume at the center has been decreasing due in part to improvements in technology and customers’ increasing preference to communicate with us online.”
There is little doubt that the company is encountering turbulence as customers turn to internet platforms and “cut the cord” on traditional – and over-priced – bundles that are mostly duplicates between regular and high-definition channels or are specialized or foreign-language programs that are not attracting a mainstream audience. For consumers to pay a heavy price for sports channels that they never watch is also problematical. Then there is the proposed merger with Time Warner that will require regulatory approval from the Trump Administration.
Once again, employee loyalty is trumped by location and company personnel requirements.
There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere ... are you now wondering, Am I Next?