Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General, CWA Call On AT&T To Abandon New Round Of Devastating Layoffs

September 23, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), said AT&T’s plans to lay off more workers will further devastate families and service in Connecticut.

            AT&T workers have been told by the company that there will be 2,500 layoffs nationwide, including at least 75 in Connecticut, despite the company’s massive job investments elsewhere. The positions to be eliminated vary, but include engineers and technicians responsible for maintaining quality service.

            These layoffs follow more than 1,000 AT&T jobs already eliminated in Connecticut in recent years and dangerously deteriorated service.

            “AT&T has reached new heights of arrogance -- dropping workers, deteriorating service and disregarding a Department of Public Utility Control ruling that it has failed to meet service standards,” Blumenthal said.

“These latest devastating layoffs -- thousands nationwide and at least 75 more jobs in Connecticut -- are particularly pernicious because the company is investing in jobs elsewhere, while it hangs up on Connecticut families and consumers.

            “These layoffs demonstrate deep disdain for the families who will lose vital income at the worst possible economic time with so little employment options available, but also consumers who depend on AT&T’s service.”

            William Henderson, president of CWA Local 1298, said, “When does the greed end? We are talking about workers here. AT&T is ‘lowering the bar’ on job stability along with customer service in Connecticut.”

            Blumenthal added, “AT&T has long failed to meet its moral and legal obligation to Connecticut consumers -- leaving them on hold when they need service and delaying repairs. Consumers often give up and hang up before AT&T acknowledges them. Such disregard can dangerously leave consumers without adequate service -- a broken lifeline for emergencies and families.

            “My office will consider next steps to fight AT&T’s continued defiance of state service needs.”

            Last year, Blumenthal formally intervened in a proceeding at the DPUC to enforce repair service standards and order AT&T to improve service after AT&T revealed plans to cut another 60 customer service jobs in Connecticut.

            The DPUC ultimately agreed that the company failed to meet certain service standards, but imposed minimal penalties -- and now is considering updating those service standards.

   AT&T has failed for years to meet DPUC's requirement that it fix 90 percent of out-of-service phones within 24 hours, often missing the mark by a significant margin. In addition, consumers calling AT&T's customer service line have to wait so long -- on average about two minutes in 2006 and two minutes and 28 seconds in 2007 -- that as many as 12 percent hang up before anyone at the company picks up.