AT&T Call Center Layoffs Continue
Decreasing call volumes to AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) call centers have led to layoffs in various cities as the Dallas-based telecommunications company continues to face challenges in 2017.
Doing what it takes to stay competitive and operationally profitable is the main goal of any business. Retraining, restructuring, cost-cutting, and downsizing are the main options for staying afloat in an industry that is facing a lot of cutthroat competition and technological disruption.
The first department to face the music at AT&T has been the call centers; layoffs there have been imminent.
The company has also been undergoing a major retraining exercise to equip some employees with the skills necessary to be ready for future jobs at AT&T. Employees could get certifications or degrees through affiliations with educational institutions such as Georgia Tech.
The telecom industry as a whole is facing a churn as certain business lines face closure or major disruptions in the way their business is conducted. For example, fewer people subscribe to DSL Internet service, so fewer call center employees are needed to deal with DSL customers.
With reported consolidated revenue of $163.8 billion in 2016, AT&T has about 268,000 employees.
In addition to the layoffs and shutdowns mentioned below, AT&T announced earlier that it was shutting down its call centers in Metairie and Shreveport, Louisiana, affecting a further 66 employees.
El Paso Call Center to Close: Layoffs & Relocation to Follow
In September 2017, AT&T announced that it would be closing its East El Paso, Texas call center on November 17, in a move that will affect around 278 employees. The employees at the Butterfield Trail Industrial Park location have the option to either be laid off or to be relocated to either a different office in El Paso or to locations in Missouri or Florida.
The company announced that a relocation allowance would be provided to those who agreed to move out of town to work at a different AT&T facility. The company also said that severance packages would be given to employees who took the layoff option.
AT&T said it was closing the Butterfield Trail Industrial Park call center in order to consolidate the work that was done there into other company facilities, in order to increase efficiency and provide better service to its customers.
Closing the Detroit Call Center Led to 53 Job Cuts in May 2017
Earlier this year, AT&T announced the closure of its DSL Care Center in downtown Detroit, cutting 53 jobs in May. Last year, however, the company hired 265 new employees in Michigan, including about 60 in Detroit. The layoffs come as part of a reorganization exercise; the Detroit operations will be consolidated into other locations.
The company also planned to sell the building that the call center was located in.
AT&T offered the Detroit call center employees the option to relocate to Texas or Florida, and those employees can also apply to different departments of AT&T.
Job Cuts in Richardson, Texas in March 2017
AT&T declared in March that it was going to be laying off up to 54 employees at the end of that month at its Richardson, Texas call center.
Commenting on the AT&T call center layoffs, spokesperson Marty Richter said that, although the company is adding employees in some areas in order to meet increased customer demand for certain products and services, restructuring is taking place. “…as we continue to do everything we can to better serve our customers, some restructuring is occasionally necessary in order to reduce redundancy and improve efficiency,” said Richter.
As per the law, the company sent a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice to the Texas Workforce Commission, outlining the AT&T layoffs in Richardson.
Richter clarified that the affected Richardson workers were part-time employees, and that their main tasks were to monitor quality control for the customer calls about specific products, namely U-verse and DirecTV.
“AT&T to close East El Paso call center by year’s end; 278 face layoff or relocation,” USA Today, September 14, 2017, September 15, 2017.
“AT&T to close Detroit Call Center, cut 53 jobs,” Crain’s Detroit Business, March 16, 2017.
“AT&T to lay off employees at Richardson office,”Dallas News, February 6, 2017.