AT&T to lay off Wichita workers

The company has not released the number of Wichita employees that are affected.

03/19/2010 12:00 AM

03/19/2010 6:28 AM

A union official said Thursday that AT&T's layoff of hundreds of workers in a five-state region includes workers in Wichita.

Tammy Chaffee, secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 6402 in Wichita, said some AT&T employees represented by her local have received 90-day layoff notices. She would not say how many received the notices because some did not yet know they are part of the layoff.

"I can tell you we have had some workers impacted," Chaffee said. "We are going to support and assist them in any way we can."

Local 6402 represents about 400 AT&T employees in Wichita and western Kansas, she said.

The layoffs are affecting 520 AT&T employees in Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to a CWA Local 6360 official in Kansas City, Mo. Todd Appleby, vice president of Local 6360, said 140 AT&T employees in the Kansas City area received layoff notices.

AT&T spokesman Marty Richter wouldn't comment on the number of layoffs locally.

He said the company continues to match its work force to the needs of customers and the company.

"In those parts of our business that are growing, we are adding jobs, most notably in retail stores and U-verse installation," Richter said.

What's not growing is the company's wireline, or traditional phone service business. He said that business has been declining because of the economy and the move of many customers to wireless phones.

In the past three years, AT&T has lost more than 25 percent of its wired customer access lines, Richter said.

"Fewer access lines means fewer customers calling us for repairs, for new orders, for billing questions," he said.

Richter said most bargaining unit employees can apply for other open positions within the company. Those who choose not to generally have a severance package as part of their union contract, he said.

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