KEY POINTS

  • AT&T agrees to hire 6,000 customer service employees by 2024
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a holiday for all union members
  • The settlement ensures AT&T of enough crucial labor force for its 2021 broadband expansion goal

AT&T reportedly reached an agreement with its largest union, protecting the jobs of thousands of its technicians.

It has been revealed that AT&T settled a lawsuit with the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers, Bloomberg reported.

The CWA lawsuit claimed that AT&T planned to lay off over 700 of its technicians to cut costs while continuing to commission subcontractors for the same work.

The new agreement aims to protect the jobs of 29,000 landline technicians until 2023. The company has also agreed to hire 6,000 customer service employees by 2024.

The agreement also marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday for all union members. As of January, AT&T had around 85,000 unionized employees.

The Communications Workers of America considers the settlement a victory for the union.

"We are glad we got this settled with AT&T, and we are very interested in getting to work on broadband buildout," said Beth Allen, a CWA spokeswoman.

The world’s largest telecommunication company, AT&T has been selling assets and spinning off businesses as part of its cost-cutting effort. In June, the company sent notice of job elimination to 3,400 of its employees.

"Reducing our workforce is a difficult decision that we don't take lightly," AT&T then said. "For employees who are leaving as part of these changes, we're offering severance pay and company-provided healthcare coverage for up to 6 months for eligible employees," the company added, according to Business Insider.

The move was part of a cost-cutting plan, said Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chief executive officer. Stephenson stepped down as CEO in April. John Stankey, the company’s former chief operating officer, replaced him and took office on July 1.

In October 2020, Stephenson outlined that the company will remove big chunks of costs in the next two years. The plan materialized and the highly indebted company executed a $6 billion cost-cutting push including the closing of 250 AT&T stores.

The company aims to add new fiber broadband customers for 2021. To achieve this, the company will need more network technicians. The lawsuit settlement with the union ensures AT&T of a sufficient labor force to achieve this goal.

The rest of the settlement terms are still undisclosed. The company has not yet commented on the matter.

AT&T AT&T has rolled out its mobile 5G network in 12 cities in the United States. Photo: Getty Images/Kena Betancur