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SBC to Cut 99.99% of Workforce
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas - SBC is threatening to cut 166,669 jobs, the telecommunications giant announced Friday, if it cannot reach an agreement with workers to accept up to 15% reductions in salary and benefits. If it carries through with the threat, it will leave the company with only the CEO, three repairmen, and an operator. "Iím glad to still have a job, of course," said Gladys Forth, the operator selected to remain after the involuntary termination program, "But I donít think I can maintain my current level of courteous service all by myself. After all, we all need to tinkle from time to time."

"We believe in our people," said SBC CEO Dennis Payne, "We believe they will see the futility of continuing to stonewall while their jobs hang in the balance. But if our faith -- my faith -- proves to be misplaced, then the company will go along happily without them. And with all their salaries off the books, we can offer even better rates to our existing customers."

"Payne seems to think heís only stifling future growth," countered union leader Max Killmore, "He doesnít realize that every single day, linemen carry out routine maintenance on all of his equipment. Lines fall, people cut them with shovels, birds electrocute themselves, you wouldnít believe the stories our guys could tell. He wonít last a week with what heís hanging on to."

Other telecommunications companies have sensed the void growing over SBCís troubles and are moving in. "Weíve seen Sprint acting early, as usual," said advertising executive Walter Crimford, of Crimford & Associates, "Their latest spot showing the frustrated consumer endlessly on hold, waiting for Gladys, is clearly a shot at SBC. But why not? They could have only ten operators and claim to have ten times the service capability of SBC."

The layoffs are likely only a bluff, say analysts. "Payne wonít carry it through, he canít, and he knows it," said one, "But itís telling of his character that he said it. Heís a gutsy guy. I wouldnít work for him, but thatís another story."
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