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Workers at Dayton’s AT&T Division Feel Stress, Wait Word on Layoffs

September 20, 1995

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ As AT&T Corp. announced plans today to strip itself of its computer unit, workers at the subsidiary met with executives to talk about the future of the company.

One thing they didn’t find out was whether they will be out of jobs.

Dayton-based Global Information Solutions, which has 43,000 workers worldwide, will lose 8,500 employees as part of AT&T’s decision to break up into three companies and get out of the computer manufacturing business.

David Rose, 50, of suburban Kettering, has spent 27 years with the company and said the workers are showing signs of stress.

``I think people are very anxious. It’s a trying time,″ Rose said after about 300 employees met with Lars Nyberg, the chairman of Global Information Solutions.

Walter Gasior, a GIS spokesman, said 1,000 of 4,300 workers in Dayton, along with 300 contract employees, will be let go.

The unit is the former NCR Corp., which AT&T acquired after a prolonged bidding fight for $7.4 billion. It makes large computers as well as laptops, automated teller machines and grocery store bar-code scanners.

Like other manufacturers that specialized in big computers, GIS has been hurt by the shift in demand from large mainframe computers to networks of PCs and workstations.

GIS officials planned to meet with employees throughout the day, but workers will not know until later today or Thursday whether they will keep their jobs, Gasior said.

Nyberg met with about 300 employees who work in the personal computer unit today at the University of Dayton Arena.

Most employees left today’s meeting quietly and did not want to talk about the breakup.

Dick O’Neil, 53, of suburban Miami Township, a former long-time NCR employee, is now a contractor for GIS.

``I feel kind of sad. It’s a tough thing to go through,″ O’Neil said.

Today’s announcement was no surprise.

In July, the company announced a restructuring plan for the unit, saying it would cut jobs but not saying how many. The company said then that it was pulling back from the consumer PC market and narrowing its marketing efforts of larger computers.

``The reason is clear,″ William Deatherage, analyst at Bear Stearns and Co. in New York said last week. ``From an earnings perspective, GIS is hemorrhaging.″

The computer subsidiary had a $189 million loss in the second quarter, its largest quarterly loss since becoming part of AT&T in 1990. In the first quarter, the unit lost $143 million. It earned $45 million in the fourth quarter of 1994.

Its best performance goes back to the second quarter of 1992, when it posted $98 million in earnings.

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