WASHINGTON – Unions representing nearly 6 million workers announced today that they have requested detailed information from almost a dozen employers about how the companies are using their gains from the largest corporate tax cut in U.S. history. As the unions enter into and engage in collective bargaining with the companies, they are filing formal information requests to determine how much the companies are benefiting from the tax cut, what portion of those benefits they are using to raise wages and create jobs, and how the tax cut legislation has affected their decisions to send and keep jobs overseas.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the Teamsters sent the letters to negotiators at corporations including AT&T, American Airlines and other national and regional companies where the unions are currently bargaining or will be bargaining new contracts in the months ahead. Failure to disclose the requested information could subject the companies to an Unfair Labor Practice complaint under the National Labor Relations Act. The unions say the letters sent this month are just the first in a series.
“President Trump and the Republican Congress promised that billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways would ultimately raise wages and bring jobs back from overseas, but a union contract is the only way to get that promise in writing,” said Chris Shelton, president of CWA. “Working people deserve to know how their employers plan to spend their tax savings so they can bargain for a fair share of the windfall and ensure that corporations do more to bring jobs home and improve pay and benefits.”
The Trump Administration and Republican members of Congress asserted that the unprecedented corporate tax cut included in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would filter down to workers and give the typical American household a pay raise of between $4,000 and $9,000, as well as prevent American jobs from moving overseas.
In the information request letters, the unions urged the companies to work with them to achieve the legislative intent of the corporate tax cut. “Raising workers’ pay and stopping the offshoring of jobs are central concerns of our union and the employees we represent, and we are deeply concerned that these promises will be forgotten unless we bargain for them,” CWA’s letters to AT&T said.
In addition to details of the estimated gains from the tax cut over the next five years, the unions are asking the corporations how many previously outsourced jobs will be returned to the U.S.; the amount of capital investment planned domestically and abroad; how many jobs the companies plan to create in the U.S.; how much the companies are spending on stock buybacks; and additional information that will help the unions prepare for and engage in bargaining to ensure the tax cut raises wages and stops the offshoring of jobs.
The information requests coincide with negotiations for fair contracts at some of the biggest corporations in the nation. CWA has been engaged in bargaining for two years with American Airlines, where more than a quarter of the workers for its regional Piedmont and Envoy carriers earn such low wages that they must accept food stamps and other public assistance to make ends meet, even as American Airlines reported $1.9 billion in profits last year.
While CWA submitted letters to American Airlines, AT&T and Nexstar Broadcasting, SEIU submitted letters to long term care providers Consulate Health Care and Genesis HealthCare.
“Working Americans are not the ones getting the raise from President Trump and Republican leaders’ tax cut, corporations are,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Millions of care and service workers like Gail Bruno, a nursing assistant at Consulate Health Care of North Fort Myers, Florida, are still having to work longer and harder than ever just to cover the basics for their families. It’s time for employers to do right by the employees who make our economy and their companies run and share how they plan to turn their tax savings into a pay raise for American workers.”
Meanwhile, AFT submitted letters to four for-profit health care corporations: Carepoint Health, AMR Ambulance, Fresenius Dialysis Clinics and Kindred Hospital.
“President Trump ran as a populist, but has governed for the elite; he boasted that his trillions in corporate tax cuts would be passed on to workers—now it’s time to find out if this was just another example of a reality show spin,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “The collective bargaining process gives workers the legal right to know how their employer is spending the president’s largess. Are bosses only interested in boosting profits and share prices, or will they invest in good jobs and higher salaries for their workers? The proof will be in the pudding.”
The Teamsters submitted letters to Frito-Lay/PepsiCo and XPO Logistics, a top ten global logistics company and plan to submit a letter to Republic Services, the nation’s second largest non-hazardous waste disposal company.
“Despite the lip service from politicians and corporations about the tax cuts trickling down to workers in the form of increased wages, the reality is the cuts are going to go to a select few who need it the least, like Bill Gates, who is the largest shareholder of Republic Services, a waste industry company,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “We are standing up to this greed and demanding that companies like Republic tell the hard-working trash and recycling collectors and sorters that keep our communities clean, that the tax cut isn’t just going to line the pockets of the second richest person in the world.”
Copies of the information request letters are available at www.cwa-union.org/corporate-tax-cut-rfi-letters.