Got a tip today of a reduction in jobs at AT&T's business office on Capitol Avenue. The tip said as many as 100 could be affected and perhaps would be relocated to Wisconsin.
A company spokesman confirms an undisclosed number of job "surpluses" here in the wireline operation (you know, those old-fashioned fixed-line phones that an increasing number of people don't use any more). He said other job opportunities will be offered affected employees. The statement:
UPDATE: I forgot. Per Karl Rove's instructions: This is the fault of Barack Obama and Mike Beebe.
FROM AN AT&T SPOKESMAN
We notified the union and employees about two weeks ago of some job surpluses in our wireline business at that location.
We don’t provide numbers, but I can tell you that the office is not closing … this affects only a fraction of the employees located there.
The affected bargained-for employees have a job offer guarantee that promises a job offer in another part of the business — a rare benefit even in good economic times. Also, the work is being consolidated at other AT&T facilities, and some of the employees will have the opportunity to follow their work. Most employees who chose not to accept a job offer and to leave the business have severance packages as part of their union contract.
As I mentioned, these employees are in our wireline business (primarily back office support for wireline business customers). While we continue to hire in those areas of our business that are growing, most notably in our wireless and video (U-verse) business, we are also reducing some jobs in our shrinking wireline business.
In the last three years (as of 1Q 2011), AT&T has lost more than 35 percent of its wired consumer access lines. That’s an industry trend, ad you probably know. More than one in four U.S. homes — 26.6 percent — had only a wireless phone as of June 2010, up from 13.6 percent in 2007, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in April. (By the way according to their figures that number is much higher than the national average in Arkansas — 35.2 percent for ages 18 and older, and 46.2 percent for ages 18 and younger.)
Some general background:
AT&T remains one of the largest employers in America and the largest private employer of full-time union labor. We’re also the only major union wireless company in the country. We work hard to maintain the viability of our businesses to preserve good jobs with excellent wages and benefits.
Like any reasonable business, we much work consistently working to match our workforce to our customer base and the needs of the business.