Occupy Atlanta camps outside AT&T building to protest layoffs

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ATLANTA,None —

Occupy Atlanta protesters have begun camping outside the AT&T building in midtown Atlanta after 12 people were arrested on the first day of protests.

“It’s all of us who are being marginalized and having our pay cut because corporations have the power to do that,” protester Matt Magnuson said.

Magnuson is one of around 30 Occupy Atlanta protesters now camping outside the building.

The group is protesting the phone company’s planned layoffs of 740 employees who work with landlines.

AT&T said it is replacing those positions with other union jobs within its wireless services, but protestors said the new jobs are lower paying positions with no benefits.

“To tell these 740 workers that we’re going to fire you, but we’ll hire you at half the pay with no benefits, those are your options, you can either have no job or you can have a job at half the pay with no benefits in this current situation, and no one’s there to tell the corporations that that’s not OK,” Magnuson said.

Occupy Atlanta protesters said that is why they began protesting outside the AT&T building on Monday. Police arrested 12 protestors that day for refusing to leave the AT&T lobby.

AT&T said the protesters do not have all the facts.

“It’s just not accurate. They are indeed union jobs. They’re advertised as such on our website. Anyone’s free to go look at them, apply for them if they want,” AT&T spokesman Joe Chandler said.

Protesters said they plan to stay as long as it takes to convince AT&T to change its mind on the layoffs and keep the current union employees.