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‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ investigates: How AT&T outsources American jobs, makes employees train replacements

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“I’m aware of at least 8,000. At least 8,000. It could be more.”

That’s how many AT&T employees have been victimized by an outsourcing process called “rebadging,” according to a former worker for the telecommunications giant who spoke to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for a special investigation.

The employee, who spent nearly two decades at AT&T, was informed a few months ago that she was no longer needed, and was being “rebadged” to consulting company Accenture, where she’d be forced to train a low-cost foreign replacement. She told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that she expects to be fired within a year.

“You feel helpless and you just accept it,” said the employee, who added: “Today it’s my job. Tomorrow, it could be yours.”

Another former AT&T employee, who has also been rebadged to Accenture and also expects to soon be fired, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that all of the replacement workers come from one place.

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“They are all from India,” the employee said. “Most of them are from Hyderabad, some are from Mumbai.”

The “rebadging” process is made possible by the H-1B visa program. Many of the 85,000 H-1B annual visas, which are distributed by lottery, go to technology companies and critics say the program has been hijacked by staffing companies who then sell their services to corporate clients and use them to outsource tech work.

“What AT&T is doing is they’re firing them and having them work for other companies,” says Sara Blackwell, an employment attorney who represents workers displaced by outsourcing. “It’s called rebadged, but they literally get one or two days to make a decision and they can’t find a job that fast. So they are working for Amdocs, Accenture, IBM and Tech Mahindra, and they’re training their replacements there.”

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” producers obtained shocking documents from the training courses. Powerpoint slides with the AT&T and Accenture logos inform workers about Indian cultural customs and mention that Indian men will not shake hands with American women. AT&T also gives its soon-to-be-former employees a list of “approved topics” for discussion and urges them not to discuss India’s religious conflicts or human rights record with their future replacements.

“We are an American company and we are literally giving away our legacy. We are giving away our knowledge base,” one employee said. “We can’t get those things back once we outsource all this.

Many companies say that foreign worker visa programs help U.S. companies deal with a worker shortage but Blackwell says if that was the case there would be no firings. AT&T employees say their replacement is not a question of intelligence.

“Some of the folks that we work with are very sharp,” one employee said. “But we’ve got some [who] if they were dumber, we would have to water them twice a week.
 
AT&T is currently spending $100 million on an extensive renovation of its Dallas headquarters, which includes a 104-foot light wall. CEO Randall Stephenson makes nearly $30 million a year, nearly 366 times the average AT&T worker. Many believe the outsourcing helps to pay those expenses.
 
“They said, ‘You do not get a severance package. You’re not eligible for one since we found you another job.’ That’s what we were told,” an employee told “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “We were also told that we would not get our annual bonus next year unless we agreed to go work for Accenture.”

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A spokesman for AT&T assured “Tucker Carlson Tonight” producers that anyone who’s been “rebadged” can return to AT&T at any time.

“The information provided to you is not accurate.  Many of those employees have already been placed in new AT&T jobs and we will do the same for our other U.S. employees impacted by this transition,” a company spokesman said in an email. “For perspective, we are currently hiring for more than 4,500 jobs across the United States.”

One rebadged employee responded to the statement with one word: “Wow.” The employee later added: “That hasn’t happened to anyone, I don’t think. I think that’s a blatant lie.”

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” producer Charles Couger contributed to this report.

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Amazon to hire 100,000 for new seasonal jobs

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(NEXSTAR) — Amazon announced Tuesday that it’s creating an additional 100,000 seasonal jobs.

Last month, the retail giant said it was hiring 100,000 full- and part-time workers across the U.S. and Canada.

The company said the newest crop of positions will allow people to earn money during the holiday season, and many of the job locations will include bonus holiday incentives.

“With more than 12 million Americans out of work according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics these new seasonal roles in several locations across the US and Canada will complement its regular full- and part-time positions,” Amazon said in a statement. “Amazon offers jobs for people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and these 100,000 new, seasonal jobs offer opportunities for pay incentives, benefits, and a path to a longer-term career, or can simply provide extra income and flexibility during the holiday season.”

The retail giant also said it has promoted more than 35,000 employees in 2020, and 30,000 workers have participated in its Career Choice program, which is designed to help “upskill” people seeking a future in a “high-demand field” by offering courses in 20 career paths.

The company said half of the program’s participants are from underrepresented minority groups.

“Career Choice is one way we help people think big about their careers, and we offer training across a wide variety of skills needed for high-demand fields,” Darcie Henry, VP of Global HR for Amazon Operations, said in a statement.

The company said the jobs could lead to a more long-term opportunity.

“A job with Amazon can be the start of a future, long-term career inside or outside of the company,” the retailer said.

Anyone interested in applying for the positions can visit amazon.com/apply.

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Estler named to travel panel | News, Sports, Jobs

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Susan Estler has been the executive director for Travel Marquette since February 2018. Estler was recently appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Travel Commission. (Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette)

MARQUETTE — An integral person in helping boost Marquette County tourism numbers will now be representing the area at the state level.

Susan Estler, executive director for Travel Marquette, was appointed to the Michigan Travel Commission by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week.

“The Travel Commission was established to promote, maintain and develop the orderly growth of the Michigan travel product,” a release states. “The Commission assists the Michigan Travel Bureau with the development of a comprehensive long-range master plan, annually assesses the activities and accomplishments of the Michigan travel bureau and works to maximum extend practicable with those private associations, nonprofit corporations, organizations or other private entities which promote tourism in this state.”

Estler said she’s honored to be appointed to the commission in such turbulent times.

“I’m obviously thrilled to be joining the Travel Commission,” she said. “I’m looking forward to expanding our work in the county and greater Michigan area and working with a variety of organizations and nonprofits. I’m happy to help enhance Michigan’s travel and tourism since it’s the state’s second largest industry. It’s an important appointment for me and I’m happy to represent Marquette and work with Destination Marketing Organizations around the state.”

Estler added that she was asked of her interest in a spot on the commission in advance, but it still came as a surprise to find out.

“I received a call from the governor’s office asking if I would be interested in being on the commission,” she said. “I certainly said I would, and I went online and completed the application. Last week is when I heard about the appointment. I’m excited, needless to say, the governor has been busy with other things. I’m very happy to be on the travel commission.”

To be appointed to the commission, candidates must be experienced in the travel, tourism and recreation industry or another field.

Estler brings over 20 years of the necessary experience, working in similar roles in Florida and Pennsylvania over the years. Estler was hired as the executive director of Travel Marquette in February 2018, and said she’s loved it here ever since.

“I love Marquette, the people of Marquette and what the destination has to offer,” she said. “If you’re going to market a destination, it has to resonate personally with you. There’s diversity as far as activities go. Within Marquette County, there’s a lot of arts and culture which resonates with me along with the beautiful outdoor activities during the winter and summer. Biking, hiking, snowshoeing, it’s beautiful what Marquette County has to offer. The people are the icing on the cake. All the independent businesses we have here, it’s an authentic destination to live, enjoy and market.”

This year has been hard on the travel and tourism industry, and Estler said current plans for Travel Marquette are more of a wait-and-see game.

“It seems like the word for the year as far as marketing goes is ‘pivot,’” she said. “You aren’t sure what’s going to be happening long-term as far as everything with COVID-19. We hope we can continue safely promoting Marquette County and bringing visitors here when it’s appropriate, and do activities that are appropriate as well. Outdoor activities lend itself to people coming here and traveling safely. We’ve had a lot of people over the summer and fall coming in and enjoying the area.

“With many of the events being canceled, you pretty much have independent travelers coming in. Many have heard of Marquette in the recent past and decided to give it a try. It has a great small town feel with big adventures.”

As far as what she hopes to accomplish on the travel commission, Estler is excited to work with the various tourism organizations and businesses that will come her way.

“Certainly representing the Destination Marketing Organizations and looking at it from that perspective,” she said. “I’ve been involved in other state organizations throughout the years, and I find that DMOs kind of have a different perspective than other tourism businesses. I’m excited to represent the U.P., Marquette and all of the things the U.P. has to offer.

“I’m also excited to work with my colleagues and finding what’s of interest to them as well. I want to be a greater voice for the U.P. and DMOs as a whole. The bottom line is that I love marketing and I think it’s really fun to be working on the state level and in the travel industry as a whole.

“It’s a huge honor for me to be on the Michigan Travel Commission. I’ve admired the work the state of Michigan has done as far as promoting tourism to the state as a whole. It’s a diverse state with everything from large international level cities to mid-sized cities and beautiful nature trails throughout the state. There’s activities you can do in nature, and that’s what attracted me here to begin with. Nothing beats being on Lake Superior.”

Patrick Brys of Traverse City, president and CEO of Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery, along with Julie Rogers of Ann Arbor, director of marketing for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, were also appointed to the travel commission along with Estler. These three take the place of Jerome Toney of downstate Howell, Jennifer Zieger of downstate Wyandotte and Julie Sprenger of Laurium, whose terms expired on Aug. 20. The commission consists of 13 total members, all of whom are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.

For more information on the Michigan Travel Commission, visit www.michigan.org/industry/travel-commission.

For more information on Travel Marquette, visit www.travelmarquette.com.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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Iconic City development to create thousands of jobs

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  • Brookfield Properties granted development approval for two major new buildings on Lots 5 and 6 Elizabeth Quay
  • $367 million development expected to create 2,500 construction jobs, supporting Western Australia’s strong economic recovery
  • Towers to deliver new office space, dining and retail options to the CBD together with apartments and hotel rooms 
  • Perth’s skyline is set to grow once again, with development approval granted for the construction of two iconic new buildings on Lots 5 and 6 at Elizabeth Quay.

    Brookfield Properties will construct two new towers, one of 58 storeys and one of 21 storeys, at Perth’s landmark waterfront precinct.

    The $367 million development is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs, supporting Western Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

    The two towers, designed by New York architects Rex, will together deliver more than 52,000sqm of high-quality office space, 1,800sqm of dining and retail space, 237 apartments and 84 hotel rooms.

    The innovative building design will see the entire upper section of the 58-storey tower cantilevered to extend from the lower portion, creating a unique landmark for Perth.

    The new $367 million development will complement Brookfield’s adjoining $360 million Chevron tower and the $300 million EQ West tower, both currently under construction.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “This promises to be a landmark development for our city, in what is another sign that confidence is returning to Western Australia’s economy.

    “The two towers will generate thousands of jobs during construction and many more ongoing jobs.

    “As we continue on the path to recovery, my Government will continue to support projects that boost the State’s economy while generating life and vitality in the city.”

    As stated by Lands Minister Ben Wyatt:

    “This exciting development will help add more vibrancy of our city’s prime waterfront precinct.

    “The 2,500 construction jobs created by this project will add to the employment opportunities already delivered through ongoing construction at Elizabeth Quay, and the 10,000 jobs expected from the recently announced $1.5 billion Perth City Deal.

    “This latest approval is another sign of the McGowan Government’s commitment to creating a thriving, energetic city, and supporting opportunities to power WA’s continuing recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.”

    As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “Today’s announcement is another exciting step forward for our CBD.

    “These new towers will become another iconic view along our Swan River and encourage more people into the Perth CBD, providing a boost to the economy and supporting and creating local jobs.

    “This complements our recently announced Perth City Deal which will see $1.5 billion of investment into the Perth CBD, unlocking thousands of jobs and economic benefits.”

    /Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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