A new report by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) blasts AT&T for allegedly eliminating “thousands of jobs, closing call centers and shifting customer service and network maintenance to low-wage contractors, including overseas vendors.”
The report notes that while AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson once “boasted that every $1 billion in tax savings will create about 7,000 good jobs for the middle class,” the company announced more than 1,500 layoffs just days after President Trump’s tax bill became law.
According to the report:
- In the past seven years, AT&T has eliminated more than 16,000 call center jobs, closed 44 call centers and laid off thousands of workers.
- In the past three years, AT&T has laid off 2,300 workers in Midwest states, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois.
- In Michigan and Ohio, AT&T has closed four call centers in the past two years alone.
“AT&T is breaking its promise to workers, customers and communities across the country,” said Linda Hinton, CWA District 4 vice president. “The company pledged to invest in U.S. workers if the tax bill passed, but they’ve done just the opposite. Companies like AT&T must renew their commitment to working people and the towns that depend on these jobs.”
AT&T was quick to respond to the CWA’s allegations.
“What the union consistently fails to point out is that we have chosen to hire over 87,000 people in the United States in the last three years, including 17,000 in 2017 alone,” said Marty Richter, AT&T spokesman. “And we’re currently looking to fill thousands more this year. When tax reform was announced late last year, we made $200 million in bonus payments to our front-line employees, an $800 million funding of our employee and retiree medical trust, and a nearly $100 million funding of our AT&T charitable foundation.”
AT&T also expects to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States this year, “which research indicates will create about 7,000 jobs in the broader American economy,” he said.
“Technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we’re adjusting our workforce in some of those areas,” Richter said. “Most of our union-represented employees in these contracts have a job-offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company if their current job is eliminated. That’s a rare benefit in the United States today.”
In the meantime, 14,000 AT&T workers remain on the job as contract negotiations continue between the telecommunications giant and the CWA. Earlier this month, the CWA authorized a potential strike against AT&T for employees in the Midwest — Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Technology workers across the country belonging to the CWA’s “Legacy T” bargaining group might also strike. Their contracts expired this month.