AT&T eliminated more than 10,000 US jobs in 2018, union says

Telecommunications giant AT&T eliminated more than 10,000 U.S. jobs last year and outsourced some of those positions to contractors overseas, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said in a report released Monday.

CWA for months has raised questions about AT&T's layoffs following the 2017 tax-cut law, which the union says resulted in roughly $20 billion in tax savings for the telecom company.

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"Iconic U.S. telecom giant AT&T received an unprecedented windfall from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE signed into law in December 2017," CWA said in its report. "But despite this massive boost to its profits, the company is choosing to undercut and offshore American jobs."

CWA estimated that AT&T has eliminated 10,700 jobs across the country, saying the cuts have come by way of closing or shrinking dozens of call centers. The union said AT&T is replacing U.S. workers with low-wage contractors overseas.

"Despite its strong financial position and promises to invest in its American workforce, AT&T has shifted much of its employment away from good, family-supporting jobs and towards a low-wage model that undermines the quality of its customer service and its standing as a good corporate citizen," CWA said in its report.

An AT&T spokesman in an email to to The Hill on Monday reiterated a statement made last month, saying the company is investing "in good middle-class careers in areas where we’re seeing increasing customer demand for our products and services."

The spokesman said the company has hired "87,000 people in the U.S. in the last three years alone, plus nearly 16,000 in the first 10 months" of 2018. "It’s important to note that most of our union-represented employees have a job offer guarantee that ensures they are offered another job with the company if their current job is eliminated."

The spokesman did not address the specifics of the numbers reported by CWA, but added that in light of the tax law AT&T has pledged to invest $1 billion more in the U.S. than it otherwise would have.

"In late 2017, with tax reform in mind, [AT&T] paid a special $1,000 bonus to our U.S. employees — all of our union-represented employees, non-management employees and front-line managers – totaling $200 million," the spokesman said.

AT&T is planning to eliminate three more call centers this year, CWA said. The company has closed more than 44 call centers since 2011, eliminating more than 16,000 call-center jobs and laying off thousands of workers.

CWA in a letter last month asked Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection House votes to repeal ObamaCare's 'Cadillac tax' Finish the work of building a renewable fuels industry MORE (D-Mass.), who's now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to investigate how AT&T and other large companies are using the tax savings they've received from the tax-cut law. The union made the request after the National Labor Relations Board dismissed CWA's complaint about AT&T. 

Neal's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.