Brothers and Sisters,
Today the AT&T made an appalling announcement; they are closing nearly 500 Mobility Retail Stores in the United States. This includes 20 stores in Indiana, affecting over 100 members. The company claims the closing to be part of their “Corporate Restructuring and Business Plan”. I don’t buy it!
These store closings are about profit. They are most certainly not about taking care of employees or their families. I will give the company credit for one thing; they are allowing those who cannot get another job to move to a “Work from Home” call center position. Great and thanks; if it wasn’t for the overseas contractor centers closing due to their Covid outbreaks, I highly doubt the company would have ever considered allowing call center work to be done from home. AT&T has always fought the Union tooth and nail to keep from returning any contracted call center work to the U.S. or our CWA Members. So, you see why I have my reservations about their overwhelming generosity. I would believe; the company won’t guarantee that as you turn off the lights in these closing stores, they won’t turn them back on 30 seconds later as an “authorized vendor” store. No, I don’t suppose we will receive that guarantee from the company.
These closings affect the lives of nearly 1700 bargained employees and their families. This would be devastating at any time, but its life shattering now when we are clearly still in the middle of a pandemic and thousands are losing their jobs because their companies are failing. Who could blame an employer if their business were about to fail? Is AT&T failing or are they just failing you? I believe I will go with “failing you”. They continue to make billion dollar deals while cutting employees who make pennies compared to the billions they spend.
To be fair, they are not the only mega corporations doing this; the airlines took 25 billion in tax dollars and that was apparently only enough to keep employees on payroll until yesterday. This is a problem that will exist past the pandemic. However, it is one that I hope our children do not have to face when they join the workforce.
Our Union will continue to fight for your future through this unjust action. While I can be angry, that won’t help you as you try to find a new store or job. Please be sure to contact your local steward or area representative with any question you have as we go through AT&T’s process.
Tim Strong, President
CWA Local 4900