March 14, 2014 – Today AT&T announced to their employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 21 (IBEW 21) that 136 jobs will be cut, mostly in Illinois. The company plans to move some of its call center work out of the State and cut jobs in numerous other locations throughout Illinois.
This announcement comes a little over a month after the company was praised for its plans to create 200 new jobs this year in Illinois. In January, AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza was quoted as saying, “With these new jobs, Illinois and AT&T are moving forward together.” Governor Quinn said, “As Illinois’ economy continues making a comeback from the worst recession since the Great Depression, AT&T’s commitment to Illinois and our workers is another step forward.”
IBEW 21 President-Business Manager Paul Wright is disappointed by the about face taken by AT&T management. He said, “It appears AT&T clearly is not committed to job creation in Illinois. This employer can’t be rewarded for creating jobs with the sleight of hand. You can’t create positions with one and then take jobs away with the other. What appeared to be a gain is now a net loss for our membership.”
Today’s step backwards will hit the hard working women and men holding positions at the Company’s Lakewood Call Center located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois especially hard where AT&T plans to eliminate 117 positions.
The announced layoffs are as follows:
108 Maintenance Administrators (MA), Hoffman Estates- NCSC Group
6 Maintenance Administrators (MA), Hoffman Estates- CIAC Group
3 Technical Associates (TA), Hoffman Estates,
6 Customer Account Specialists (CAS), Chicago, 311 Washington- SAG Group.
1 Clerical Associate, Springfield – 555 E. Cook
12 Central Office Telecommunication Specialists
Management stated the forced distribution date for the employees affected by the surplus declaration will be June 12, 2014. Article 30 of our 2013 collective bargaining agreement governs all AT&T surplus declarations. View the agreement now by clicking here.
Voluntary Separation Packages (VSIPP) are available to all employees who are not affected by the surplus declared by AT&T. If you would like to save the job of someone whose job is at risk please consider turning in your VSIPP applications today. In 2013 bargaining, Article 30 language was changed to allow interested employees a 5 day period after the announcement of a surplus to apply for a VSIPP. You must file your VSIPP paperwork by March 21, 2014.
Your union leadership is in talks with AT&T management. They understand the strains AT&T has placed on its employees and are doing everything they can to minimize the impact AT&T’s decision will have on our hardworking members and their families.
The IBEW has worked very hard over the years to preserve many of these call center positions. Previously concessions were made to save the jobs being eliminated. AT&T reaped the rewards of those agreements. These workers have nothing left to give other than their jobs. Today, management is again chasing profits by destroying the livelihoods of the working women and men in Illinois and Northwest Indiana who relied on these jobs to provide for their families.
We must remind our membership that things can change daily. We now must allow the process to play itself out. We realize many members have questions, concerns and that rumors may start to fly. Union updates will be released as necessary. We will only report on verified factual information. The IBEW Local 21 staff is available to help you if you have questions.