AT&T to lay off unspecified number of workers

AT&T will lay off an unspecified number of U.S. employees in a bid to streamline elements of its business, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

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Vice Motherboard reported that the telecom giant would conduct a “significant round of layoffs” aimed at consolidating its operations at 10 “major operation hubs” in New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Washington state, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington D.C. It’s unclear which positions will be impacted by the cuts.

A company spokesperson confirmed the upcoming round of layoffs to FOX Business, noting that they will impact a small portion of AT&T’s workforce. In the wake of its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T is prioritizing investments in new technology and content offering over its legacy services.

“We are hiring to meet the needs of the growth areas of our business,” AT&T said in a statement. “In fact, we hired more than 20,000 new employees last year and more than 17,000 the year before. In cases where we do have to adjust our workforce, we take steps to lessen the effect on employees.”

The cuts are expected roughly one year after AT&T earned a $19 billion quarterly profit in the wake of the Trump administration’s corporate tax reform. AT&T gave 200,000 U.S. employees a one-time $1,000 bonus after the tax reform package’s passage.

Shares of AT&T have gained 8 percent so far in 2019.

AT&T has reportedly begun briefing managers on how to answer employee questions about the job cuts.

“To win in this new world, we must continue to lower costs and keep getting faster, leaner, and more agile,” AT&T executive Jeff McElfresh said in a memo to managers obtained by Vice. “This includes reductions in our organization, and others across the company, which will begin later this month and take place over several months.”

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AT&T joins rival Verizon Communications in recalibrating its workforce. Last October, Verizon offered voluntary severance packages to roughly 44,000 employees, which amounted to more than a quarter of the carrier's workforce. A spokesman for the company confirmed the scope of the offer at the time, which was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.