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September 21, 2019
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IBEW 21 Response to AT&T’s Irresponsible Layoff Announcements
Updated On: Dec 15, 2017

December 15, 2017 (12:45 PM CST)

The Officers and Staff of IBEW Local Union 21 are extremely frustrated and downright pissed off with the lack of respect, responsibility and social concern regarding the way AT&T management handles surplus situations.  Departmental level vice presidents down to local first-line managers have been prematurely releasing information regarding surpluses.  They appear to relish being able to be the first to announce “their facts” on jobs losses.  They seem to take it as a badge of honor to disrupt the lives of their employees. 

Local and mid-level managers don’t have the authority to make any decisions until the people many levels above them tell them what they can do.  When they start to talk in many cases, their information is wrong or only partially correct.  Either way no manager should ever release what “they believe to be fact.” They shouldn’t talk about “the rumor they heard” until their bosses at the highest corporate levels officially notify the IBEW that a surplus condition exists.

Anyone who has been around the telephone company long enough understands things change on a daily basis.  Local managers and those with higher titles often are unable to make the right decisions; they get the simplest things wrong.  This could logically be part of the reason they aren’t trusted with managing surpluses. 

There is a process that must be followed when a surplus condition exists.  It is outlined in our AT&T collective bargaining agreement.  It in part says your Union will be officially notified in Full Committee of a surplus announcement and the effects of the announcement will be discussed.  It is at that time we receive the official surplus numbers along with locations.  At that point we know the severity of the heartache our members will face.

Any talk leading up to that unfortunate official announcement is just that - talk.  We don’t take our members to be fools.  We often may hear the same rumors you hear.  We don’t comment on rumors because they are rumors.  When we hear these rumblings your Union leaders speak with AT&T Labor Relations.  If there is any truth we begin conversations on how to mitigate the number of employees who may lose their jobs.  In many cases job losses are reduced or eliminated. 

That was the case earlier this year when some department vice presidents began talking to their employees about who was going to lose their jobs and at what locations.  Our Local 21 leadership reached an agreement that eliminated a potential surplus and our members and their families were freed from that unnecessary stress. 

We’ve repeatedly notified AT&T management that their irresponsible behavior has to stop.  The reasons for their misguided actions and their unfortunate need to toy with their employee’s emotions may never be known.  In recent days managers again have taken joy in running their mouths and spreading misinformation right before the holidays.  Obviously, what they should have done is wait for the official announcement and then help console their employees who just found out their lives would be changed forever.  Shame on them!

While jobs of front-line employees are being eliminated maybe AT&T management at the highest levels should follow through with their rumored plans and cut the jobs of their lower level management hacks.  It is time for them to feel the same pain the hardworking members our Union have felt this holiday season.

If you are a member who is affected by AT&T’s recent announcement of jobs cuts and have any questions please contact your IBEW 21 Chief Steward or Business Representative.  Rest assured united we will do all we can as this process works its way forward, we are all in this together.

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