Thursday, April 5, 2012

AT&T's Management Failure Disguised as a Union Problem

Since when is it "demeaning" or a "waste of time" to engage in actual work? Apparently when one is part of "management" at AT&T that time is NOW - when they are being "cross-trained" in "Strike-Preparation Armageddon."

Good luck with that.

Apparently engineers with PhD's are "too smart" to climb poles and PR folks just don't have the "people skills" to speak with actual people. 

To the AT&T CWA Union:  Strike long and hard, baby.  These "managers" of yours seem so dysfunctional and disorganized they couldn't organize an orgy in a whorehouse...or David Vitter's office.

Further, dearest CFO of AT&T, you might want to look long and hard about this "managers, retirees, and laid-off workers" strategy you are deploying. Wouldn't bargaining in good faith be cheaper?  If you need to "make cuts" how about starting with the top executives?  What about their health insurance plans, their retirement plans, and their golden parachutes? Wouldn't it be easier to adjust top down than bottom up?  They seem to be doing pretty well - looks like 219 had enough extra cash lying around to contribute to political campaigns and SuperPACs.  Both sides of the aisle. Some great causes (Emily's List) and some pond scum (Rick, Mitt, Newt & John of Orange)  

It's seems from your SEC filings, "T" (AT&T is listed as just "T" - but I'll leave that alone for right now...) has been quite generous to its officers and directors.  Seems they made some cash this week; how about you start with reducing THEIR compensation. After all, it is this august group of individuals who have been steering your antiquated ship, and costing you "big picture market-share" money, not your Union Employees.

How about looking at that little budgetary line of lobbying?

Surely $20M could be better spent, could it not?

Silly me.  Of COURSE $20M in lobbying money is "necessary" as are all those lovely executive and former executive perks "T" shells out for.   Unions cost money. Lobbying and perks are "good business." What WAS I thinking?

The idea of managers being brought in as de facto rats does bring up another question; one that has nagged me for years.  Why isn't there a statute spelled out from the NLRB that protects managers from being dismissed for refusing to cross picket lines?  In Ms. Underpants' World - this would be a nice little addition to the workplace for people, who despite being the vilified members "of management," still have a conscience. 

Clearly not all these managers are anti-union.  Many likely came up through the ranks and were members of the union. Why, now, must they choose between their jobs and their conscience.  I'm not inferring  "T" (Can I call you "T"?) will fire members of management who refuse to do the work of striking employees, but I'm enough of a realist to know this is not uncommon.

Been there.

So, AT&T, you can choose to do like all the other Fortune 500 Companies have done and blame union workers for poor strategic management, poor investments, poor leadership, poor product design, bad marketing, and losing market share OR you can put on your big boy pants and fess up.

It's your leaders - their antiquated ideas and boys club perks who need go -  not your Union Employees. 

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