"We were able to create these jobs at competitive salaries," says an AT&T spokesman. The positions will pay $30,000 per year plus benefits. AT&T is implementing the plan in cooperation with the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents telecom workers at the company. AT&T will start adding the positions beginning in mid-2007. It hasn't yet decided where it will place the workers, the spokesman says.
CWA officials welcomed the move. "Reversing the flow of work from contractors back to our bargaining units is a terrific achievement," said CWA executive VP Jeff Rechenbach, in a statement.
AT&T insists it made the decision to repatriate the jobs after successfully bargaining "competitive" wages with the CWA. But customer pressure to improve service may also have been a factor. Users of AT&T's home DSL service frequently pillory the company on online bulletin boards and blogs. A poster on DSLreports.com complains that AT&T's "India tech support doesn't know anything." AT&T's spokesman declined to identify the vendor currently handling the company's offshore DSL support.
AT&T is now creating the U.S. based position of Tier 1 customer assistant to handle tech support for DSL users. It's the second group of jobs that AT&T and the CWA have agreed to create in recent months. The company and the union recently worked out a plan to hire in-home technical services reps for AT&T's U-verse digital video services.