Sizing Up At&T's Downsizing

In "For a pink slip, press 2" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Nov. 27), you quoted Harold W. Burlingame, AT&T's senior vice-president for human resources, as saying: "We will downsize and grow at the same time, as we address new markets and new opportunities."

In terms of dollars, it may indeed be less expensive to force out 15,000 people while hiring 20,000 others than to retrain existing employees for the challenges ahead. All I can say is, if I were a savvy fast-track manager, I would think twice before signing on with such a fickle organization. If a significant number of talented managers feel similarly, Mr. Burlingame & Co. may want to recalculate the true cost of their reengineering efforts.

Michael R. Murnane

Syracuse, N.Y.

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