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Customer Service Jobs in Connecticut Cut by AT&T

Posted on October 15, 2008

A large communications company recently announced it would cut several customer service jobs in Connecticut.

AT&T has announced its plans to move 60 customer service positions from the company’s Meriden, Connecticut office to Michigan. Connecticut state officials have backlashed against the decision, fearing the company’s local customer service department will suffer, according to an article by the Hartford Courant. The cuts come shortly after Connecticut saw the loss of 1,000 jobs.

AT&T has told maintenance administrators, who take calls from customers in need of land-line phone repairs and then dispatch crews, that the company would be closing its dispatch office in Meriden and moving their jobs to a Michigan office. The administrators will have the option of relocating to Michigan, transferring to a different department in Connecticut or taking a severance package of up to a year’s pay.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recently held a press conference to oppose the closing, while Governor M. Jodi Rell sent a letter to state regulators, ordering them to review the decision as part of their pending investigation into AT&T’s customer service. Rell also urged the state Department of Public Utility Control to expedite hearings on the investigation scheduled for January.

“January of next year is too long to wait when AT&T is hanging up on workers and customers all across Connecticut,” she said in the article.

Bill Henderson, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1298, said the relocation would worsen customer service in the state because dispatchers in Michigan would presumably know less about Connecticut’s geography and wouldn’t be able to dispatch crews as efficiently. However, AT&T Connecticut President Ramona Carlow said it would not affect service because technicians would still be on the ground communicating with dispatchers.

“It’s an unnecessary fear, and they’re wrong,” Carlow said in the article. “The grandstanding by politicians I’ve heard today is in no one’s interest.”

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