”Is it true that AT&T is more than half management employees? How is this possible?” asks Michael Hochberg, of the California Institute of Technology. “Am I misreading this?” he asks. “If this is true… how does a company end up as more than half management?"
It’s a very good question, which Light Reading promptly put to AT&T. Technically speaking, according to AT&T’s definition of the word “management,” it does indeed have 36,000 managers, out of a total of 61,000 employees. That's only slightly larger than a one-to-one ratio of management employees to the rank-and-file, as calculated with our lightning fast math skills.
It definitely sounds like way too many chefs and not enough sous-chefs.
Before we get carried away, lets see what AT&T says about it. AT&T characterizes management employees, generally speaking, as “those not covered by collective bargaining agreements.” Translated, this means any employee not represented by the two unions (CWA and IBEW) with which AT&T has agreements in place (for wages, pay raises, holidays, etc.)
“There may be some non-management employees who have chosen not to align themselves with a union, but for the most part management equals nonunion,” says AT&T spokeswoman, Sue Fleming.
AT&T’s definition differs dramatically from Webster's dictionary definition of the word "management," which has the following meanings:
- The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control: management of a crisis; management of factory workers
- The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise
- Skill in managing; executive ability
So what do these folks actually do, other than avoid unions? Hard to tell really. But that's part of the charm of Ma Bell's age-old bureaucracy.
The memo, sent by AT&T’s CEO Dave Dorman, describing the pay freezes, is rather long-winded, but for anyone interested in more AT&T weirdness, the relevant part can be found towards the end.
— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Boardwatch