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Altice USA creating new company for technical staff

Altice NV unit Altice USA is setting up a separate company for its technical staff as it works to upgrade its entire system to fiber-to-the-home network that can provide users with speeds of 10 gigabits-per-second, Multichannel News reported Dec. 19.

Altice said the new company, called Altice Technical Services USA, would help offer better training and customer service, while a labor union believes it will be used to cut jobs.

With the company planning to start shifting workers who volunteer to the new company between February and April, the employee union expects Altice Technical Services to house more than 4,500 staffers. Altice USA has more than 18,000 workers across the U.S., according to its website.

Altice is reportedly offering cash incentives to existing employees to move to the new company, along with the same health and welfare benefits, seniority and vacation time. The transition is expected to complete within a period of five years, according to the report.

The New York State Public Service Commission said in a statement that it was aware of the company's move, and believes Altice is not "forcing its customer-facing workforce to take positions in the new unit or is otherwise reducing its customer-facing workforce." An order by the New York PSC stops the company from laying off its customer-facing workforce for four years.

However, some workers and officials at the Communications Workers of America union are concerned that Altice USA could use the new company to work around that order, according to the report.