Article 43


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AT&T Outsourcing News 10/16/07


Just when it was beginning to look like AT&T was making a 180 degree turn-around concerning outsourcing with their recent LITTLE ROCK and BIRMINGHAM announcements - this happens.


AT&T Mobility Outsources Tech Jobs to IBM - Jobs Could End Up In India

By Marcus Courtney
WashTech News
October 16, 2007

AT&T mobility informed its nationwide help desk employees that their jobs will be outsourced to IBM beginning next year. The company told the employees in an email and a nationwide conference call on October 4th. “This is to let you know that your job functions and position will be transitioned to IBM effective January 1, 2008,"read the email from Rick Felts, a Senior VP AT&T Mobility, to employees.

At least 100 employees in the Bothell, WA location will lose their jobs, and scores of other workers around the country in locations such as CA, NJ and GA will also be impacted.

IBM has a track of winning outsourcing contracts from U.S. firms then moving the work abroad to places such as India where it has almost 100,000 employees.

Some employees will be offered employment at IBM but not all. “At this time, I regret to inform you that you are not among those AT&T employees who will be receiving an IBM job offer...” continued the email sent to employees who will be laid off. “Some people are upset at the news. I kind of chuckled because we could have had a union,” said an employee in Bothell who does not want to be named for fear of risking their severance package.

WashTech attempted to organize the Bothell IT department two years ago but failed in gathering a majority of workers in signing union recognition cards. Union organizers at the time raised the outsourcing issue noting that without the protections of a union contract, the company can outsource these jobs at any time. Employees responded that their jobs would never be outsourced.

AT&T’s outsourcing announcement comes at a time when the globalization debate is heating up in Congress and the polls show declining support among voters for the free trade agenda. The Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means Committees are working on legislation that would expand what is known Trade Act Adjustment Assistance. The program provides access to extended unemployment insurance, health insurance, retraining benefits as well as relocation expenses. Currently the program only applies to a narrow segment in the manufacturing sector. The reform legislation would expand it so it applies to service sector workers and allow for community and industry wide certification. In addition, several free trade agreements are stalled because the TAA legislation has not passed which is a center piece program of the new Democratic majority

The moves by AT&T to outsource IT services to IBM illustrates why an expansion of TAA BENEFITS is necessary for workers and one of the benefits of unionization in protecting jobs from outsourcing actions.

WashTech has written and taken action on the TAA issue before. The recent action by AT&T Mobility to outsource services to IBM illustrates why an expansion of TAA benefits is necessary.


Posted by Elvis on 10/16/07 •
Section Telecom Underclass
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