Given the intense political climate these days, any time a company makes a move regarding staffing at home or abroad, it becomes headline news. Especially when it’s good news. A recent report said the union that represents AT&T workers announced an agreement with AT&T Southwest to hire Americans to replace jobs that were once done by overseas contractors. It’s only a four-year deal, but it comes with serious perks. Higher wages, paid parental leave, better healthcare, and other benefits for AT&T workers in five southern states.
AT&T corporate publicly lauded the deal, saying, “…[this deal] maintains one of the most robust health care plans in the nation … The agreement also includes two weeks of paid parental leave to help mothers or fathers bond with a newborn or newly adopted child…”
Industry watchdogs are already predicting the concession to bring thousands of jobs back to the U.S. will be used as leverage in further negotiations. AT&T Southwest settled quickly, but there are other groups of company workers still hammering out their new contract details. These include AT&T Wireless and customer service workers, which account for about 21,000 workers across 36 states. That leaves a lot of room for AT&T to make up any losses in bringing those jobs back to domestic facilities.
As entrepreneur David Milberg noted, "That’s not to say the union is unhappy, just wary." Their chief concern remains the rampant outsourcing that has been happening, especially in tech and customer service sectors in recent years. AT&T’s union wants more union workers here in the States, and that, as always will mean higher per-employee costs for the company. That money will have to come from somewhere.
Meanwhile, AT&T will certainly enjoy a consumer public relations bump for "hiring American," and you can expect them to push that narrative in the coming months. The question remains, will this become a trend, and will it influence the decisions of other major players in telecom? Will Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile see this move as a reason to expand their own domestic workforces?
With mobile beginning to play a major role in the daily lives of just about everyone in the country, any worker growth in this area would be a good thing, from both a PR standpoint and an economic one. Jobs in this sector may have more stability, due to increasing demand … as long as the Big Four continue to make decisions that keep up with trends and keep their customers happy.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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