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Layoffs Inevitable for AT&T Landline Workers
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AT&T has confirmed that it will lay off 160 workers in its landline business in Connecticut.  The phone giant says it’s seen a 25% drop-off in its landline customer base, but unions have accused the company of endangering service standards.  WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The affected workers will all be informed this week, and AT&T says they will be able to apply for other work with the company.  But the layoff plans have been blasted by utility watchdogs and unions representing AT&T workers, who say customer service will suffer. Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told a hearing at the Department of Public Utility Control that the company must continue to be held accountable

AT&T has been under fire for failing to meet standards on the speed of repair for faulty landlines in the state for the past seven years.  But attorneys for the phone giant today urged state regulators to ditch service standards that are imposed on the company.  AT&T’s Chuck Langevin told the hearing that in a competitive marketplace, the standards are unfair:

"That's probably the reason we have a discriminatory situation today, because the standards that you have only apply to those under the commission's jurisdiction, and yet, maybe half the market is provided by those that aren't under their jurisdiction."

The union representing workers at AT&T in Connecticut, the Communications Workers of America, Local 1298 was not allowed to bring up the layoffs when questioning company representatives at the hearing.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.