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AT&T Layoffs: Carrier To Lay Off Thousands Due To COVID-19

The carrier giant is straining under the pressure of the global pandemic and declining legacy products and is eliminating more than 3,400 jobs and closing more than 250 retail stores as a result, according to AT&T.

AT&T is feeling the ill effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The carrier giant is cutting more than 3,400 jobs and shuttering more than 250 retail stores as a direct result of the virus and its efforts to turn its attention to growth areas, according to AT&T.

The job cuts and store closures were first revealed by the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers. In a statement from the union, AT&T informed the group that more than 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country will be eliminated over the next few weeks.

More than 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country will be eliminated over the next few weeks. The carrier also plans on permanently closing more than 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores, which will impact 1,300 retail jobs.

AT&T did not respond to CRN's request for comment on whether the layoffs will affect its business services segment or the carrier's indirect sales team prior to publication.

[Related: AT&T Sees 'Unprecedented Volumes' Of Calls As COVID-19 Leaves Its Mark]

AT&T in a statement to Business Insider said "economic impact and changed customer behaviors" due to the pandemic were drivers behind layoffs and store closures. AT&T said that it was eliminating more non-payroll workers, many of which are based outside of the United States, than it is managers or union-represented employees, according to Business Insider.

AT&T, like its fellow carrier competition, has been struggling to address declining legacy telecom products. The Dallas-based carrier said at the beginning of the year that it planned to lean heavily on its mobility segment, including 5G, and promising fiber growth opportunities to accelerate the business in 2020.

AT&T in 2019 began working with Elliott Management when the activist investor took a larger stake in the Dallas-based telecom. AT&T said it planned on freeing up $2 billion in 2020 and would "streamline" its portfolio of nonessential assets this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on AT&T's first fiscal quarter of the year, which prompted the carrier to pull its financial forecast for the year.

AT&T and other service providers, including Comcast, pledged to use their tax cuts from the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act to create jobs, raise wages and increase investment in infrastructure. These companies have come under fire for instead eliminating positions over the past two years. AT&T, for its part, pledged 7,000 new jobs if the tax cuts bill passed, but AT&T’s quarterly reports shows that the company has eliminated more than 41,000 jobs to date, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America.

The job cuts come as Randall Stephenson, the carrier's longtime CEO, prepares to step down. Stephenson's successor will be John Stankey, the company's president and chief operating officer, who is slated to take over the reins on July 1.

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