"These are good jobs with good wages and benefits, and we are delighted to have them back in-house and on shore." – AT&T executive
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Here’s a tip of the hat from the Skinny to AT&T for onshoring more than 3,000 jobs that BellSouth and contract vendors had shipped overseas.
AT&T describes the bringing home of jobs as “repatriation.” Whatever the word, the news is good for Americans.
As IBM and other tech companies continue to slash U.S. jobs, with a lot of people forced to train their foreign replacements, AT&T (NYSE: T) says it is fulfilling a pledge to return 5,000 "off-shored" jobs to the good ol’ U.S. of A. Ma Bell said 3,000 of those are in former BellSouth territory.
This week, AT&T noted that a center in Louisville, Ky., now has 350 people hired to provide tech support to AT&T high-speed Internet and other net customers. A similar operation recently opened in Goldsboro (400 jobs promised).
As of Jan. 29, AT&T said it had passed the halfway mark toward its 5,000 goal.
“The bulk of these jobs are now located in broadband support centers in North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Kentucky, with most of the others scattered across states in the Southeast,” AT&T said.
"We expect to complete this ambitious 5,000 job in-sourcing initiative by this summer, less than three years after the program was announced," Bill Blase, senior executive vice president of Human Resources at AT&T, said in a statement. "These are good jobs with good wages and benefits, and we are delighted to have them back in-house and on shore."
Let us all hope that more employers follow AT&T’s example.
Blase noted that many of these jobs are also unionized.
"We applaud our union partners in the Communications Workers of America who worked with us to create competitive cost structures that allow us to meet the demands of this competitive market while still providing good domestic jobs,” he said.
That’s an interesting contrast to the chilly relationship between IBM and Alliance@IBM, which is seeking to represent Big Blue workers. Alliance is part of the CWA, but IBM worker membership remains low and Alliance officials complain that they get little if any information or cooperation from Big Blue.
AT&T noted that it is adding jobs in part because demand is growing for high-speed Internet-based services. Ma Bell also is steadily expanding its Internet-protocol-based broadband TV service, providing a growing number of communities with an alternative to cable.
With national unemployment continuing to soar, the country needs jobs. To its credit, AT&T is on-shoring some help.