Most USTA Staffers Head for the Exits

The United States Telecommunications Association said it lost 61 percent of its workers under a recent reorganization plan that involved both layoffs and buyouts.

The USTA, headed by new president Walter McCormick, said it had 67 workers before the reorganization was announced. Forty-one had left by the end of last year — 29 accepted buyouts and another 12 left for other reasons.

Buyout terms varied depending on seniority and other factors. USTA workers had until Dec. 27 to decide whether to take a buyout.

The USTA plans to employ a total of 54 workers, which means the trade organization must now recruit employees to fill 28 positions.

Within the USTA's top ranks — which include 11 positions — four officials accepted buyouts, said a USTA spokesman, who declined to reveal names for personnel privacy reasons.

The USTA is the lobbying arm for three of the Baby Bell phone companies: SBC Communications Inc., Verizon Communications and BellSouth Corp.

USTA suspended Qwest Communications International Inc.'s membership last year after it fell behind on the payment of its dues. The annual dues payment for a company of Qwest's size is $797,000.

McCormick, the former CEO of the American Trucking Association, became USTA president on July 1, succeeding interim president Gary Lytle. Lytle joined the lobbying firm Tongour Simpson Holsclaw Green.