Labor group targets AT&T, GOP over post–tax law job losses

Labor group targets AT&T, GOP over post–tax law job losses
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A labor group is targeting Republican lawmakers and AT&T in a new advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the telecom giant’s job cuts after receiving a boost from the GOP’s tax law.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has launched radio ads in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas that ties Republican candidates to the job cuts. The group estimates that AT&T has cut 7,000 jobs since the tax bill went into effect this year. They accuse the company of using its tax savings to enrich its shareholders and executives rather than investing in workers.

"AT&T can certainly afford to keep good family-supporting jobs in our communities," Lisa Bolton, CWA’s vice president of technology and telecommunications, said in a statement. "It's shameful for these members of Congress to stay silent while AT&T sends layoff notices to their constituents and moves the work to low-wage contractors."

The radio ads target a handful of races in the Midwest, including Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls New polling shows Brown, DeWine with leads in Ohio MORE’s (R) bid to unseat Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (D) in Ohio.

AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said that the ads were "misleading" and noted that the company has invested more in the U.S. over the past five years — $135 billion — than any other other publicly traded company.
 
"We’re proud to be one of the country’s largest union employers," Richter said. "And we continue to invest in good, middle-class careers in areas where we’re seeing increasing customer demand for our products and services. In the past three years, we’ve hired more than 87,000 people in the U.S., most of them union members."
 
AT&T has credited the tax bill with a boost in profit. The company reported $19 billion in net income in the fourth quarter of 2017, nearly eight times the $2.4 billion it brought in during the same period the year before, which it said was thanks to the new tax overhaul.

AT&T hailed the bill’s passage with $1,000 bonuses for most of its employees and vowed to use the savings to up its investments in the U.S.

CEO Randall Stephenson also said that the increased savings would lead to thousands of new jobs.

The CWA counters though that the company has in fact cut thousands of call center jobs and used the money to buy back its own shares, which critics say puts money in the pockets of existing shareholders.

The company also saw its merger with Time Warner approved by a federal judge last month, giving the telecom giant control over an array of valuable entertainment content.

The CWA’s 60-second radio spots, which launched Thursday, put pressure on GOP lawmakers over their votes for the tax bill and call on them to urge AT&T to preserve U.S. jobs.

“AT&T has taken advantage of the break that Congressman Renacci gave them, and passed it on to wealthy shareholders and executives,” the narrator in one of the ads says. “It's time for Congressman Renacci to support Ohio families and demand that AT&T keep its promise to invest here at home — instead of shipping more jobs overseas.”

A spokeswoman for Renacci’s Senate campaign was not immediately able to comment.

The CWA, which is in contract negotiations with AT&T on behalf of thousands of its employees, has repeatedly attacked the company over its post–tax boon plans. In May, the group filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for failing to disclose those spending plans.