AT&T (NYSE: T) is laying off 200 wireline workers in its Houston call center facility that are charged with taking consumer collection calls for its traditional voice and U-verse video and broadband services.
The service provider said that the volume of calls at its Houston center had been declining. It attributes this decline to two factors: customers are using more wireless services, while one in three of its customers now prefer to communicate with them on a "self-serve" or online basis.
"To increase efficiency and better serve our customers, we are consolidating some call center work that is currently done at our office at 3900 Dacoma in Houston into other AT&T offices," said Marty Richter, a spokesman for AT&T, in an e-mail to FierceTelecom. "Qualified employees have a job offer guarantee that ensures they will be offered a job in another part of our business, and a number of affected hourly employees are being offered the opportunity to follow their work to either at Fort Worth, Texas, Kansas City, Mo., Norman, Okla., or San Antonio."
Richter said that AT&T is giving the affected employees a job guarantee, ensuring that they will be given an offer for another job within the company.
The total number of affected employees may be less if these employees secure other positions in the company through the job vacancy plan, resign with a voluntary severance payment, or voluntarily retire.
Despite the cuts, Richter said that the company will continue to hire new employees in Houston and throughout the rest of Texas to serve in other parts of its business.
"It's important to note that we remain committed to Houston, as well as Texas, and are hiring in the growing parts of our business," Richter said. "We have hired more than 700 people in Houston through August of this year, and we're currently hiring more than 1,400 people throughout the state."
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