Union files complaints against AT&T, Nexstar for failing to disclose plans for tax savings

Union files complaints against AT&T, Nexstar for failing to disclose plans for tax savings
© Greg Nash

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T and Nexstar Media Group after the companies failed to provide information sought by the union about how the businesses planned to use their savings from the corporate tax cuts in the Republican tax law.

“Like so many companies, AT&T promised that it would use savings from the tax bill to create good, family-supporting U.S. jobs,” Lisa Bolton, vice president of CWA Telecommunications and Technologies, said in a news release Wednesday. “We’re using our power at the bargaining table to make sure they keep that promise. AT&T shouldn’t be laying off workers and sending the work to low-wage contractors when they are pulling in billions in profits from the tax bill.”

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The new tax law, signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE in December, cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Following the tax law's passage, AT&T, Nexstar and a number of other companies announced employee bonuses.

The CWA and several other prominent unions sent letters to several corporations early this year asking them about their estimated gains from the new tax law and what they plan to do with those gains. They sought to get that information in order to help workers bargain to get some of the savings.

But according to the CWA's complaints, AT&T and Nexstar refused to provide information that it requested.

The CWA said that Nexstar refused to provide financial information about its bonuses and 401(k) match program because the business and the union bargain on a station-by-station basis.

The union also said that Nexstar employees it represents at several television stations did not receive the company's announced benefits.

AT&T said it has "never bargained tax policy or tax planning with the union." 

The company also said that "with tax reform in mind we put $200 million to bonus payments to our frontline employees, $800 million to funding our employee and retiree medical trust, and nearly $100 million to funding our charitable foundation. And we’ve said we plan to invest an additional $1 billion in the U.S. this year."

The CWA's executive board last week voted to approve a strike for workers covered by two AT&T contracts, allowing the strikes to occur if bargaining negotiators can't reach an agreement.

AT&T said that a vote to authorize a strike is "not unexpected" during negotiations, and the company said it is "working with the union to reach a fair agreement."