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Friday, September 10, 2010

Bargaining & And The War For Our Jobs

Where should I start?

Q. What is the most important issue in this bargaining?

We are tired of being AT&T's onshore sweat shop employees. Competitive wages? As compared to what? Working fast food maybe!

The time has come to show AT&T we mean business. Regardless of what center you work in, it is time for you to get with the program and start standing up with your co-workers for what is right. Even if you don't care about YOUR job, care about the rest of us and the people who NEED this job. The single parents, people bills bills, people with health problems, people trying to go to school to better their lives, people with families, people without families... EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE. The selfishness amongst employees MUST stop and it MUST stop NOW. You need to put your own needs aside and think of your co-workers for a moment. When you decide you are too lazy to wear a shirt or button supporting the union, snap out of that mindset and put it on before coming to work.

Some people may have other plans and options for their lives, but that is certainly not the majority of employees at AT&T. Many will be stuck in this job for a long time and may move up within the company at some point. But to move up, you have to be able to support yourself in the mean time. AT&T is making massive profits all year long and they are sharing none with their employees. But you can bet that the upper management is still getting a bonus and living high on the hog. We are the ones (slaves) who are working to make that money. We keep the customers coming back and paying their bills. When they are ready to give up, we get them up and running again. Why should be not be paid what we are worth?

Many of us would like to see a strike, and I think we may be headed in that direction. And if/when we do, I hope that people are not crossing the picket line and going in to work. Yes, it will suck to lose money for a few days, but sometimes we have to lose a battle to win a war. And kid yourself not, this is a war. We are fighting a machine that is playing on our fears. We, the employees, are what AT&T is comprised of. WE ARE AT&T.

Take this to heart each and every day. It will get better, but we have to force the change. We have to show the company that we mean business. Support your union reps and the bargaining team. They have much on their backs right now. Thank them.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lets Talk Metrics

AT&T tells us there is a certain amount of time we can spend on the phone with a customer. In fact, for each type of call (such as registration, no sync, browser problem, and security center install) there is a metric. A metric that has a time so low that it is unattainable. Are there people hitting these metrics? Sure, but they do NOT hit them consistently. What good is a metric if it is unattainable the majority of the time? You would think the company would open their eyes and see the error of their ways. Nope, not at AT&T!

You see, at AT&T, the customer does not matter. The only thing that matters is the bottom line. Here is the AT&T way of thinking. If a customer calls in for the same issue 3 or 4 times and spends too much time on the line with the rep, that customer has cost the company more money than they pay for their DSL per month. Even if you have the basic DSL service at $19.95 a month, the average Customer Assistant (CA) makes $12.00 per hour. At two calls into support lasting an hour, you have cost the company more than you pay in one month. All the same time, while the CA is providing you with service and help, we are getting the short end of the stick. Are some of us short on the phone with customer, sure. We all have bad days. But when we are paid peanuts for what we do and try and support a family, the stress levels run high.

I received an email from a customer saying "Hey, at least you have a job." Yes, and we are thankful that we have jobs. But does that give the employer a right to take advantage of us? Working at AT&T is like working in a sweat shop.

These metrics do the customer no good. CA's end up having to try and find a way to transfer the call to someone else, or refer the customer to the Geek Squad or the like. The customer gets angry because we refer them out to someone else. Why? Because we can be fired for staying on the phone too long with them.

This is not the only metric that CA's have. There are MANY metrics in the mix. But this metric is the one that impacts the customers the most.

Until customer start complaining, and I mean via emails, phone calls, and letters to AT&T corporate HQ in Dallas nothing will change. Help us to help you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lets Chat!

As promised, here is a detailed report on each of the items listed that must change at AT&T. And lets start with....

Every employer has an attendance policy, but the policy at AT&T screws everyone. Now, there are people who take advantage of the system and deserve to be fired. But others have legitimate reasons for an absence. This system of points is flawed on multiple levels. To break it down in lay terms, here is the policy.

  1. Don't get sick EVER
  2. Don't allow your family or friends to die
  3. Don't allow bad weather to stop you from driving to work
  4. Don't let your family get sick or have surgery. And of they do you cant be there
  5. Don't have kids (Refer to rule 4)
  6. At that, don't have a family or get pregnant
  7. Make sure you don't have any car problems
  8. Make sure if you or your family has a medical emergency, give 48 hours and use PDO.
  9. Don;t have a heart attack. But if you do make sure you die so your family will get your employer sponsored life insurance before they fire you for not being at work. (You think it is a joke?)
  10. Don't believe in God. Why do I say that? Ask the two former employees from Texas who sued AT&T and got paid $$$ for being discriminated against and leaving work for a religious event.
  11. If there is a tornado or hurricane (Or snow storm if you live in a cold area) you still have to go to work. They tell you that since you are a utility company employee, you are exempt from the emergency situations that require most everyone else to stay home.

Bottom line amounts to being at work no matter what. There have been people taken out of AT&T in ambulances that have been fired for leaving work early. It is true. These are not just rumors, they are factual stories.

There have been other cases of people being fired of going to a funeral of a family member. AT&T defines who family members are. So, if the parent or grandparent of your spouse dies, they do not qualify as your family and you will not be excused from work to go to their funeral.

Most employers can look past their attendance policy in certain cases, especially when it comes to life, death, and health situations. AT&T does not feel they have to be humane with their employees.


An Open Letter To Glen Sirles


Do you think we are all blind or just stupid? Your video was a slap in the face to every customer assistant in the company. Out of all the upper management, I thought you had a heart and a mind of your own. Boy was I wrong. I am very disappointed in you and hope you sleep on all this and have a change of heart. Why are you not talking to YOUR boss and asking what they are thinking? Your video was too late and really wouldn't have helped anyway. We already made our minds up about the vote on the contract. You really have some nerve to end you video thanking us for our "hard work" that we do for the company. What a crock! We know that management doesn't believe that anymore than you do. You give a pay increase to Tier 2 employees but CA's get the shaft? We do the most work!

No, I am not a Vice President of anything at AT&T, but I could be the CEO of common sense. We work hard all day and deal with the issues, and you smack us in the face with your joke of a video? What were you thinking? How can you do this to us?

We are the employees that take the calls from angry customers who scream at the outsourced offshore reps who barely speak english. The customers are happy when they talk to us. Well, they are happy after they yell and complain about the off shore reps who can't troubleshoot to save their lives. The outsourcing is a modern day AT&T sweat shop. How can you people continue to take away American jobs? AT&T made a HUGE profit last year and all year this year. Why not invest in America? Why not pay your employees what they are worth. While you sit in your office, we work our asses off for AT&T. Why don't YOU come out and take calls for a week. Follow DAWN. Follow our metrics. SEE HOW HARD WE WORK FOR AT&T. Then you can go back and tell your boss what a mistake they are making by not investing in us.

AT&T does not know how to prioritize for all the tea in China, or in our case, the Philippines.  These metrics do NOT help our customers. They just make the employees miserable. Maybe if you would make customer satisfaction a priority and solving the problem without DAWN a reality things would be better at AT&T. Maybe make it harder to get a job as tech support agents. Instead of hiring anyone off the street, make a real test and require some real knowledge. Oh wait. Our jobs are disposable! Just keep firing and re-hiring instead of helping your good employees stay happy. AT&T could be a great place to work if you upper management folks would really learn how to make it a desirable place to work!

AT&T needs to make many changes, and those changes will need to start in management. Instead of looking for ways to fire us, why not look for ways to keep us? Everyone walks on egg shells at AT&T, and no place of employment should be that way.

I hope you take this constructive criticism and think it over. Talk to your upper management buddies and make some changes.

Joe Employee

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Help! We are sinking!

AT&T really does not care about their employees. And at that, AT&T does not care about their customers. I sometimes wonder if the policies are reviewed at the top or if middle management takes it upon themselves to make us work in fear.

Working In Fear
On a daily basis, you constantly worry about losing your job. What are reasons that would cause you to lose your job? I will detail them here and elaborate later on each one.

  • Attendance (An unequal policy that screws everyone equally)
  • Metrics (Completely unreasonable and not geared toward helping customers)
  • Politics (Many managers will go out of their way to fire you if they dont like you)
  • Limitations (If you help a customer too much you are getting fired!)
  • Intimidation Tactics (Certain managers love to make idle threats that are so idle)
In upcoming posts, each of these subjects will have its own post that will bring details to light that will blow your mind. If I have left anything out, feel free to email me and let me know.

Who cares? We know AT&T doesn't!
You would think that being good to your employees would make the work environment and moral at a level that is appealing. Not AT&T! The modus operandi at AT&T is the beatings will continue until the moral improves. Submit or be subdued; not a fun environment. It could be a great place to work if the upper management would make some serious changes. (More on this later)

To AT&T, customers don't matter, employees don't matter, and employees families don't matter. Some of us actually like helping customers, but that is not our job. Our job title and description are all about helping the customer, but when you get into the company you quickly learn the truth. Its almost like joining a cult.

When will it get better?
We hope soon. Again... change and awareness. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

At AT&T there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. The chain of command is ridiculous. There is a manager for a manager for a manager for a director for an area director for a vice president.. it goes on and on. At some level you just want to ask what they do for the company besides sit in an office and look busy on conference calls. Way over paid to sit and micro manage and go out of their way to make employees miserable. (LOTS more on this later!) Its high time to let some of these people go and distribute those salaries to the people doing the real work.

Management thinks we are all replaceable and their solution is to outsource jobs. Well, I cant count the amount of calls that are transferred back to me from offshore EVERY DAY because the customer wants to speak with an American here in the United States. Even customers are getting angry about AT&T policy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

COBC Violation?

I think not :-)

AT&T may not like the truth and will, in fact, call this a COBC violation. That's OK though. AT&T is free to define it as a COBC violation but they will NOT define what is free speech.

Blogspot is owned by Google who is a firm supporter of free speech. As long as no one starts spewing garbage from their computer, there should be no issue with Google.

But thanks for the email warning that someone sent me! Im not worried.