AT&T closing 250 stores, slashing staff

(CNN) -- AT&T is closing 250 stores and cutting several thousand jobs, according to one of its unions, which is criticizing the move.

The Communications Workers of America says the job cuts will come to 3,400 technicians and clerical staff, as well as 1,300 additional workers at AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores.

"AT&T could help lead the country toward recovery by partnering with its workforce to build next generation networks," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Instead the company is adding to the pain of the recession already underway."

The company had 244,000 employees as of March 31, so a 4,700 headcount reduction would represent a 2% decrease in its global staff.

AT&T would not confirm the headcount reduction numbers cited by the CWA. But the company, which is the owner of CNN, says that it expects virtually all technician jobs being cut to be done through voluntary buyouts. Some packages may pay nearly $100,000.

It also said workers at the stores that close will be offered other jobs with the company, most of which can be done from home.

AT&T's statement said it will also eliminate an undisclosed number of contract workers, most of whom are based outside the United States, as well as an undisclosed number of managers.

It said the cuts were made necessary by the changing customer preferences away from "legacy" products, such as landline phones, and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It said those who lose their jobs involuntarily will get up to six months of severance.

“Reducing our workforce is a difficult decision that we don’t take lightly,” said the company statement.

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