AT&T: Blumenthal making nine-year error

John O'Brien Sep. 24, 2009, 10:00am


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - AT&T has had enough of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal rallying against its decision to lay off workers and is claiming he made a serious error in his argument.

AT&T called Blumenthal's Wednesday statement regarding the company surplusing 75 Connecticut jobs "unfounded and already discredited." It also criticized Blumenthal for railing against a business deal, one which already has been made - nine years ago.

"Awash in money as it stands ready to spend $60 billion to purchase MediaOne, AT&T is hanging up on Connecticut families and consumers," Blumenthal said Wednesday.

AT&T spokesperson Walt Sharp said that is not accurate.

"MediaOne was, in fact, an acquisition by AT&T Corp., one of the predecessor companies of AT&T Inc. in 2000, or nine years ago. You can easily validate this on the Internet," he said.

"This information is totally bogus and it is laughable that the AG of the state of Connecticut would include such inaccurate information as an example of AT&T being 'particularly pernicious because the company is investing billions in new ventures.'

"This is a serious matter of jobs and the Connecticut economy. Having basic information like this wrong should impugn the credibility of everything that's said."

The company said its core wireline busines is declining, and those losing their jobs are guaranteed a job offer in another part of the company.

Many of the employees will probably accept enhanced severance packages, the company added.

Blumenthal has argued that layoffs have pushed customer service at the company below state requirements. The state's Department of Public Utility Control agreed but declined to penalize the company because it said the requirements are outdated.

Blumenthal wanted a penalty of $920,000 assessed.

"These layoffs demonstrate deep disdain for the families who will lose vital income at the worst possible economic time with so little employment options available, but also consumers who depend on AT&T's service."

Blumenthal was joined by the Communication Workers of America in railing against AT&T.

AT&T noted that it recently held job fairs in Connecticut to fill 100 positions in its wireless department.

"The DPUC has specifically and explicitly repudiated the contention by the CWA and the AG that there is any connection between service and staffing levels," the company said.

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