Update: AT&T has reached out to provide further clarity on this issue. See here.
End of update
AT&T is planning to shut down a local call center in El Paso, Texas next month as part of the carrier’s move to outsource call center services to other countries. The latest in the string of local call center closures by AT&T comes months after negotiations between the company and its workers failed, leading to a nationwide three-day strike last May involving 37,000 employees from AT&T’s wireless and wireline operations, as well as DIRECTV workers.
The call center at 12 Founders Blvd. in East El Paso currently employs 278 non-management workers, and once operations at the site cease in November, the number of AT&T’s employees in the city will significantly drop from its headcount of 2,444 in 2010. More to the point, the move to close the call center in the city marks the first time that AT&T’s offshoring efforts hit El Paso where there were previously three call centers operated by the carrier. The rift between AT&T and its workers has grown bitter over the last couple of months arising from several labor issues including offshoring, poor working conditions, and dubious business practices, among other issues, according to some of the company’s employees. The tensions culminated in a nationwide strike five months ago which led to hundreds of store closures across the company’s major markets in the country including New York City and Los Angeles.
However, since the strike, the second largest wireless carrier in the United States did not seem to have made any progress in regard to its negotiations with the company’s workers and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) which backed the employees during their talks with AT&T. That is despite the carrier’s promise to work closely with the labor union and CWA to settle the issues once and for all. The CWA, for its part, has also yet to issue any statement on the several issues covered by the strike. AT&T’s move to close down a local call center in Texas, however, suggests that the offshoring issue remains unaddressed despite the strike held a few months ago, with a solution to the problem remaining out of sight for the time being.