ATandT to Face Fight from Connecticut over Planned Layoffs

With traditional wireline long-distance business being consistently replaced by mobile phones, smartphones and IP-based technologies, AT&T finds itself fighting with the union and at least one state attorney's office in New England to lay off workers.

The attorney general of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, is about to be embroiled with the sole provider of service for the iPhone, AT&T. The battle will be over the planned layoffs of more than 150 workers in the state by the telecommunications giant who is now primarily a mobile service provider. As AT&T's long-distance wireline business continues to slump, labor cuts have become a common occurrence with the major telecommunications companies, including Verizon and others.

The Communications Workers of America Local 1298 announced that it received notice from AT&T about the forced layoffs on Sept. 15, and the cause was "a declining workload," said the union's Website. The bulk of the layoffs will happen to installation and repair technicians, but it will also affect many other support positions and service delivery technicians for business customers.

"The Company anticipates that there will not be enough jobs available to offer to surplused employees and will therefore be following the lay-off path as defined in Article 7 of our collective bargaining agreement," wrote Local 1298 on its Website on Sept. 20.

Blumenthal has fought AT&T over layoffs before and is seeking action from the Department of Public Utility to stop the job cuts since the company has been cited for service quality issues in the past.

"Reducing the workforce that services telephone lines in the face of existing challenges forcing overtime and other measures seems like a recipe for harming our economy, workers and consumers," wrote Blumenthal on the state's Website. "I am determined to challenge these 151 layoffs that will potentially harm not only the workers and their families, but also service quality for customers. I will immediately seek review and action by the Department of Public Utility Control, which has recognized AT&T's past failures to meet service quality standards by imposing $1.1 million in fines. I will also investigate and explore all of the facts and potential remedies."

AT&T said publicly it is offering transition jobs and other positions in the state to affected workers, but details are still being ironed out.

"Most affected employees have a guaranteed job offer in state-a rare benefit even in good economic times," AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter told "Most affected wireline technicians will have the opportunity to apply for technician jobs, at their current pay, in our growing U-verse video business."