Despite the pandemic forcing many to work from home and rely more heavily on communications services, AT&T is cutting thousands of technician and clerical jobs across the country over the next few weeks and plans to permanently close more than 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores.
Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson described the COVID-19 crisis as "a time of war," during an interview on CNN. Stephenson went on to say, "Everybody needs to step up and do their part, in terms of how we help the general population and the general public."
"If we are in a war to keep our economy going during this crisis, why is AT&T dismissing the troops?" said CWA President Chris Shelton. "AT&T could help lead the country toward recovery by partnering with its workforce to build next generation networks. Instead the company is adding to the pain of the recession already underway."
AT&T executives have made it clear through their public statements that they are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to add to their already devastating job cuts. An AT&T spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News that, "With more customers shopping online, we are closing some retail stores to reflect our customers' shopping practices. While these plans are not new, they have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic."
Turning its back on its workers and customers after pledging to step up during the recovery is another broken promise from AT&T. Outgoing AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pledged to use President Trump's corporate tax cuts to create jobs, raise wages, and invest in infrastructure. Instead, a review of AT&T's quarterly reports shows that the company has cut more than 41,000 jobs, not even including the planned cuts announced this week.
"I want to know where these jobs are going," said Joe Snyder, President of CWA Local 4302 in Akron, Ohio, who has been an AT&T technician for 25 years. "From where we sit, it looks like AT&T is pushing the work to low-paid contractors who do not have the same training, experience, and commitment as CWA members. The money they are saving goes into the pockets of wealthy shareholders looking for short-term profits instead of staying here in our communities."