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CWA Fights Unnecessary Layoffs at AT&T

CWA is continuing to fight AT&T’s proposed layoff of more than a thousand workers, a betrayal of the company’s promise to create thousands of good, middle class jobs.

Since AT&T announced plans just before Christmas to lay off technicians and call center workers in nearly every geographic region, CWA has been working on several fronts to block this action.

A recent series of round-the-clock discussions with the company resulted in a delay of the effective date of the earliest layoffs to Jan. 9, but so far we haven’t been able to completely stop this surplus. We have been able to prevent a small number of layoffs.

So far, AT&T has put forward a proposal to cut thousands of work hours from employees’ schedules, while continuing to contract out work and send good jobs overseas. The contracting out of this work and AT&T’s offshoring of good jobs is the real issue. AT&T must stop hiring contractors to do the same work that employees are qualified and trained to do.

CWA members are frustrated, especially in light of AT&T’s statements and pledge to invest at least $1 billion and create at least 7,000 good middle class jobs, as CEO Randall Stephenson promised last year.  CWA will continue to fight back against these job cuts and to demand that contracted work be performed by AT&T employees.

CWA District 6 (covering the Southwestern states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas) filed a federal lawsuit and National Labor Relations Board charges asserting that the company is violating the AT&T Southwest collective bargaining agreement by laying off workers while at the same time using contract employees to do work that CWA members are trained and qualified to perform.

Other districts where AT&T is proposing to lay off workers later this month and in February and March have filed executive grievances challenging the layoffs and the company’s use of contractors. CWA will pursue every possible avenue and take whatever action is necessary to stop these layoffs and keep good middle class jobs in our communities.

AT&T “celebrates” by promising sliver of tax savings to employees

You probably saw the headlines this morning: “AT&T giving $1,000 bonuses after tax bill.”  According to press reports, AT&T plans to give those bonuses to 200,000 US employees. That’s $200 million AT&T is promising to share with its employees. Sounds like a lot of money.

New AT&T Logo in Dallas, TXBut according to its annual report, AT&T would have paid $6.9 billion in federal taxes at the 35% corporate tax rate.[1]  Congress just cut that tax rate by 40%. For AT&T, that could mean a tax savings of $2.76 billion a year.

Do the math.  AT&T is celebrating – and making headlines – by promising a one-time employee bonus equal to about 7.25% of what it can expect to save on taxes next year.

One other thing: AT&T paid stockholders $11.8 billion in dividends during 2016.

So, this headline-grabbing employee bonus is equal to about 1.7% of what AT&T paid to stockholders last year.

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Just weeks ago, proponents of the tax bill promised that it would “mean at least $4,000 more in income every year for the average household.”

Communications Workers of America asked some of the country’s largest employers to guarantee “that working people will receive the raises the administration promised and ensure that the bill’s treatment of overseas profits will not result in domestic job loss.”

“Together, through collective bargaining, we can ensure that promises about wages and jobs are kept,” wrote CWA President Chris Shelton.

“By pushing employers for this raise, CWA proves that working people have power when we join together to negotiate for a fair return for the work we do. Unions remain the most effective means for working people to stand together and achieve wage growth and keep good jobs in the U.S.,” Shelton said. “If you don’t ask for your fair share you’ll never get it – so join a union and start asking.”

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The $1,000 per-employee bonus announced yesterday is a good start.  But even if AT&T raises those 200,000 employees’ wages by $4,000 (as the tax bill proponents promised):

  • that would still be less than one-third of what AT&T can expect to save from the 40% drop in the corporate tax rate
  • that would still be less than 7% of what AT&T paid out to stockholders as dividends last year.

And if this tax “reform” is followed by Social Security and Medicare “reform” – as Congessonal leaders promised, earlier this month – we’re all going to need to remember this, come next November’s elections.

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ICYMI, here are some other recent headlines about AT&T:

AT&T plans to lay off nearly 300 at center in Dallas next year

AT&T lays off DirecTV workers despite pledge to create jobs

AT&T layoffs in 2018 to take place across Missouri, Michigan, & 4 more states

AT&T looking to cut 80,000 jobs in five years

[1] According to Note 11 of the annual report, AT&T’s effective tax rate was only 32.7% last year – not 35% – so its windfall from yesterday’s tax bill may be lower than $2.76 billion/year.

CWA Launches New Website to Help T-Mobile US Workers Speak Out

WASHINGTON, DC — The Communications Workers of America (CWA) today launched an innovative new website, www.TMobileWorkersUnited.org, run by workers for workers. T-Mobile Workers United, or TU, is an alliance of hundreds of call center representatives, retail associates and technicians who are standing up to discuss the issues and challenges they face at the new T-Mobile US, a merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.

The website makes it easier for T-Mobile and MetroPCS employees to connect to a network of their colleagues across the country and gives them the social media tools to support and raise awareness about TU.

Here’s what workers are saying online:

·         “With the recent acquisition of Metro PCS (9 million no contract customers and no customer service based in the USA) the winds of change are blowing. T-Mobile USA stopped employees’ raises and stopped the phone incentive for employees. We feel if we don’t unite soon, more call centers may soon be on the chopping blocks for downsizing.” – Roland Ellis (Nashville, TN)

·         “I joined TU because I was tired of the unfair treatment. Sometimes I feel like they think they can do whatever they want and there is nobody governing them or there to tell them they are wrong. And when you try to tell them they are wrong, it gets disrespectful. It becomes the type of environment that shouldn’t be a work environment. This is not the streets. You don’t get in someone’s face and tell them they are wrong. You don’t intimidate someone to not voice their opinion or not stand up for themselves.”– Adrian Dominguez (New York, NY)

·         “I’m organizing because, basically, I feel a calling for it. I do care about what happens to young people, especially young workers. I’m at the end of my working life so I’m not afraid. And I just feel like people need to step up and make the American labor movement understand what’s going on. We’re going downhill fast and it really concerns me.” – Candace Harrison (Albuquerque, NM)

Check out more stories and videos at www.TMobileWorkersUnited.org. If you would like to speak with a worker, please contact Kendra Marr Chaikind at kmarr@cwa-union.org.

In 2011, CWA, ver.di, the German union that represents workers at T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom, and a coalition of community and labor groups around the world partnered on an international campaignto win workers a voice and respect at T-Mobile. The company’s anti-union campaign has been brutal: Workers who even express interest in organizing have faced harassment, intimidation and surveillance. The National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly sent the telecommunications giant warnings for its behavior.

This May, T-Mobile officially merged with MetroPCS, combining T-Mobile’s 30,000 employees and 33.2 million customers with MetroPCS’s 3,700 workers and 9.3 million customers.

Workers want this new company to succeed, and they believe that justice and respect in the workplace are essential for that success.

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