Blumenthal calls on AT&T to keep jobs in Connecticut

Drew Smith Oct. 9, 2008, 2:13pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, along with the Communication Workers of America, called on AT&T in a press conference today to abandon its plans to cut all remaining customer service dispatch jobs in Connecticut.

AT&T plans to cut its last 60 customer service jobs and relocate them to Michigan -- a move that will compromise customer service to Connecticut customers, Blumenthal said.

"Dispatchers in Michigan cannot do troubleshooting and direct repair service in Connecticut homes. They do not know Connecticut and cannot properly prioritize work and provide equal, adequate level of service," Blumenthal said.

"AT&T's customer service has deteriorated after the company eliminated nearly 1,000 customer service-related jobs in recent years. These latest layoffs will further degrade customer care, in clear violation of legal standards. AT&T taunts the DPUC even during our regulatory review," the Democrat added.

The press conference comes on the heels of Blumenthal's announced that he will take action against AT&T in order to change the company's customer service practices. He has put pressure on AT&T through a Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) proceeding and a petition filed by the Office of the Consumer Counsel.

"AT&T has a moral as well as legal obligation to meet repair service standards for 1.67 million telephone lines in the state. Flawed service inconveniences consumers and endangers them when they depend on phone service to seek help from hospitals, police and families. These job cuts downsize and degrade service reliability -- illegally and unconscionably," Blumenthal said.

William Henderson, president of CWA Local 1298, echoed Blumenthal's sentiments.

"Once again, AT&T's promise to grow jobs in Connecticut is an empty one. This adds to its history of bleeding over 1,000 jobs from its Connecticut workforce and moving them to other states, such as Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas and now Michigan. The corporate greed that brought down Wall Street is alive and well at AT&T," Henderson said.

In its filing, the OCC claims AT&T has failed for eight years to meet DPUC's requirement to fix 90 percent of out-of-service phones within 24 hours. The suit also alleges that AT&T's wait time for customer service calls averages two minutes and 28 seconds -- so long that 12 percent hang up before the company comes to the line.

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