AT&T faces CWA lawsuit over recent DirecTV installer job cuts

AT&T is being sued by the CWA District 6 over its recent job cuts. (CWA)

AT&T is being sued by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 6 over claims that the service provider is violating the collective bargaining agreement covering 20,000 CWA-represented workers.

CWA District 6 said it is working to obtain an injunction to stop the surplus altogether and has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, in addition to the lawsuit.

“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, VP of CWA District 6, in a statement. “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.”

Right before the Christmas holiday, AT&T let over 700 DirecTV home installers go, according to a New York Post report. However, a subsequent report from the Chicago Tribune revealed the telco cut an additional 600 employees in the Midwest. Meanwhile, DSLReports cited information from an unnamed source that AT&T cut another 700 jobs in the Southwest region.

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News of the layoffs came right before AT&T announced it would provide $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 workers and an additional $1 billion in capital spending in 2018 due to the new tax rules.

"We adjust our workforce based on changing market dynamics, which vary from region to region," AT&T said in a statement about the layoffs. "In some regions we are hiring these same resources and many of the affected employees have the opportunity to transfer to those locations. Those who are unable to find another job with the company will receive severance benefits."

AT&T told The Chicago Tribune that the “workforce adjustments” are mainly related to its declining TDM-based voice and data services.

Meanwhile, an AT&T spokesperson said in a recent Light Reading report that the service provider is hiring more employees in various regions.

“We hired nearly 3,700 employees in Texas in 2016, and over 800 in Missouri," said the spokesperson. "Through November of this year we hired over 2,400 Texas and about 650 in Missouri. And we're currently hiring about 360 more in Texas and nearly 70 more in Missouri."

What’s troubling about the job cuts is that AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said AT&T would create an estimated 7,000 jobs if tax reform passed. Congress passed its tax-cut bill two weeks ago.

In December, AT&T said it was hopeful that the tax reform bill passed by the Republican-led Congress will drive business customers to invest in more strategic services like Ethernet and managed services.