AT&T has been laying off workers in a variety of operations, including some in North Carolina, with “premises technicians” who handle installation work for such operations as its fiber optic installations being affected, a company spokesperson confirms.

“Workforce adjustment includes about 10 employees in North Carolina,” Director of Communications Josh Gelinas told WRAL TechWire.

However, at the same time AT&T is hiring additional employees and is currently recruiting to fill “about 75” openings in North Carolina, the spokesperson added.

The layoff and hiring news comes after AT&T said it would hire more workers and gave employees bonuses after tax legislation recently was signed into law by President Trump.

“We’re adding people in many parts of our business that are experiencing higher customer demand,” Gelinas explained. “At the same time, technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we’re adjusting our workforce in some of those areas.”

Union lawsuit

The layoffs have triggered a lawsuit by Communications Workers of America which says layoffs are violating a collective bargaining agreement between the company and 20,000 workers the union represents. The CWA says it is seeking an injunction to stop the job cuts and also has complained to the National Labor Relations Board.

“Despite its claim that a corporate tax cut would create thousands of middle class jobs in its industry, AT&T recently announced that hundreds of workers in the Southwest would be declared “surplus” and subject to layoff, including 152 premises technicians who will be forced off the job as of Jan. 4, 2018,” said Claude Cummings, vice president of CWA District 6, in a statement published by Fiercetelecom.  The district represents workers in the southwest. “At the same time, we know that AT&T is using contract employees to do installation work while AT&T premises technicians, who are qualified and do the same work, will be jobless in just a few days.”

Job guarantees

Gelinas said AT&T is working “to find other AT&T jobs for as many affected employees as possible.”

He pointed out that “many” of those affected “have a job offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company.”

Some workers are”being offered the opportunity to work in another company facility and a relocation allowance.:

Gelinas also said the layoffs hitting premises technicians “vary region to region. In some regions we are hiring these same resources and these employees have the opportunity to transfer to those locations.”

He added that AT&T still employs “thousands more premises technicians than we did two years ago.”

Over that time the communications giant has been expanding its fiber optic network offerings, including multiple areas across North Carolina.

In the Tar Heel state, Gelinas pointed out that the company hired “over 1,000 people” in 2016 and “over 940” through November of 2017.

Various media reports, from LightReading to the New York Post and Chicago Tribune, have reported hundreds of layoffs were made with DirecTV home installers taking a heavy hit.