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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

AT&T confirmed to Axios it is planning widespread job cuts that include managers and executives, in addition to 3,400 technician and clerical jobs. It will also close 250 retail stores, impacting 1,300 retail jobs.

Why it matters: While the cuts can't be separated from the COVID-19 impact on the economy, the moves also come as the mobile industry has consolidated from four national players to three following T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint.

Details: The stores facing closure are a mix of AT&T-branded locations and those of Cricket Wireless, AT&T’s prepaid brand, according to the Communication Workers of America, which represents some of AT&T's employees.

  • AT&T confirmed the cuts, but did not give a specific total number, other than to say the job reductions were "sizable."
  • AT&T said the store closures were planned, but accelerated by the pandemic. Most store employees will be offered another job with AT&T, the company said.
  • Laid-off workers will receive severance pay and six months of company-provided healthcare, AT&T said.

What they're saying:

  • AT&T: In a statement to Axios, AT&T said the cuts stem from lower demand for some legacy products, as well as the impact of the pandemic. "As a result, there will be targeted, but sizable reductions in our workforce across executives, managers and union-represented employees, consistent with our previously announced transformation initiative. Additionally, we’ll be eliminating more non-payroll workers — the vast majority of which are outside the United States — than we are managers or union-represented employees."
  • CWA: “If we are in a war to keep our economy going during this crisis, why is AT&T dismissing the troops?” Communications Workers of America president Chris Shelton said in a statement. The union also noted that the cuts come after hedge fund Elliott Management took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T last year.

Meanwhile: In a statement, T-Mobile confirmed it is cutting some jobs too, though it didn't say how many. But it notes it is hiring for 5,000 new positions over the next year as well. The company committed to growing its net employment as it sought regulatory approval to buy Sprint.

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why high-wage jobs aren't coming back

Reproduced from Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has caught up with high-wage jobs.

The big picture: Early on, the pandemic walloped hiring across the wage spectrum and in every sector. Now, states have opened up, and the lower-wage retail and restaurant jobs have slowly come back — but higher-paying jobs are lagging behind.

1 hour ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

2 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

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