Attorney General Says AT&T Job Cuts Will Destroy Service And Families
Blumenthal, who has formally intervened in a proceeding at the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to enforce repair service standards and order AT&T to improve service, filed supplemental comments today after AT&T revealed plans to cut 60 customer service jobs in Connecticut. The initial petition was filed by the Office of the Consumer Counsel (OCC).
(Media-Newswire.com) - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by the Communications Workers of America ( CWA ) at a press conference today, called on AT&T to abandon plans to cut all remaining residential customer service dispatch jobs in Connecticut.
Blumenthal, who has formally intervened in a proceeding at the Department of Public Utility Control ( DPUC ) to enforce repair service standards and order AT&T to improve service, filed supplemental comments today after AT&T revealed plans to cut 60 customer service jobs in Connecticut. The initial petition was filed by the Office of the Consumer Counsel ( OCC ).
AT&T said it is relocating these positions -- the last of its residential customer service dispatchers -- to Michigan. Blumenthal said these jobs involve troubleshooting service problems and dispatching technicians, tasks that may be compromised if AT&T relocates the positions across the country.
Blumenthal said, "Dispatchers in Michigan cannot do troubleshooting and direct repair service in Connecticut homes. They do not know Connecticut and cannot properly prioritize work and provide equal, adequate level of service. AT&T's customer service has deteriorated after the company eliminated nearly 1,000 customer service-related jobs in recent years. These latest layoffs will further degrade customer care, in clear violation of legal standards. AT&T taunts the DPUC even during our regulatory review.
"We must stop these latest devastating job cuts -- decimating AT&T's residential customer service in Connecticut. AT&T is hanging up on Connecticut -- abandoning both consumers and employees, and damaging their families in the worst possible economic times. Dismantling its last remaining residential customer service dispatcher jobs, even while under DPUC review for its failing repair and maintenance, dramatizes the depth of AT&T's arrogance and indifference for consumers and employees.
"AT&T has a moral as well as legal obligation to meet repair service standards for 1.67 million telephone lines in the state. Flawed service inconveniences consumers and endangers them when they depend on phone service to seek help from hospitals, police and families. These job cuts downsize and degrade service reliability -- illegally and unconscionably.
"AT&T answers its phones four times slower than other telephone companies, and its call abandonment rate is four times higher. So abysmal is its service, that consumers are giving up and hanging up -- completely unable to get quality service that they deserve and need."
CWA Local 1298 President William Henderson said, "Once again, AT&T's promise to grow jobs in Connecticut is an empty one. This adds to its history of bleeding over 1,000 jobs from its Connecticut workforce and moving them to other states, such as Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas and now Michigan. The corporate greed that brought down Wall Street is alive and well at AT&T."
AT&T has for eight years failed 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, the OCC says in its filing. 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.
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