AT&T cut its workforce by 4,040 jobs in the fourth quarter, according to a press release by the Communications Workers of America (CWA.)
The CWA also said AT&T notified it that it plans to cut an additional 200 technician positions in California on Feb. 14. The CWA noted that AT&T's capital expenditures had decreased by more than $1 billion in 2019 compared to 2018.
"Like any business, we must align our workforce with the needs of our customers and the business," AT&T said in a statement that was emailed to FierceTelecom. "To the extent possible, we manage these staff adjustments through retirements and voluntary departures, and we help affected employees find other positions within the company. For those who can’t, we offer them severance pay and outplacement services.”
During Wednesday's earnings call, AT&T COO John Stankey mentioned that AT&T was seeking to improve its operational efficiency while also lowering its labor cost.
"We previously shared with you that we're targeting an additional 4% reduction in labor-related costs including benefits and contract employees in 2020 alone," Stankey said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "That work will ramp quickly and we plan for it to deliver $1.5 billion in additional cost savings."
Stankey didn't provide any additional information about the job cuts during the earnings call.
In addition to the 4,040 job cuts in the fourth quarter, the CWA said in its press release that AT&T had cut a total 37,818 jobs since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed near the end of 2017. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was a proponent of the tax cut, and said it would lead to the creation of at least 7,000 jobs.
Last year, AT&T cut 1,800 job eliminated jobs across 24 states in its wireline division ahead of a slowdown in its fiber deployments that were one of the conditions of its 2015 deal to buy DirecTV. The Federal Communications Commission required that AT&T expand its deployment of its high-speed, fiber-optic broadband internet service to 12.5 million customer locations, as well as to E-rate eligible schools and libraries, by July of last year.
Earlier this year, Axios reported that thousands of AT&T workers would lose their jobs due to outsourcing overseas.