NATIONAL -- Today, AT&T reported second quarter 2019 profits of $3.7 billion and is projecting a free cash flow of $8.8 billion. Despite these strong numbers, the company continues to slash jobs across the country, devastating families and reneging on its promise to create jobs and raise wages. The report today shows that AT&T has eliminated 27,828 jobs since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, cutting 4,500 jobs in Q2 of this year alone.
This earnings report comes as members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) remain in a long-standing battle with the company to ensure that AT&T’s tax windfall is used as promised to create jobs and increase wages. In the Southeast, a contract covering 22,000 workers expires in early August, and the workers have voted to authorize a strike if necessary to achieve a fair and just contract.
“AT&T’s record operating and free cash flow is partially fueled by the big tax cut the company continues to see from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” said Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of Communications Workers of America District 3. “At the time, the company promised to use those cuts to create jobs and invest in our communities. Today, CEO Randall Stephenson instead said the company plans even more stock buybacks which will continue to reward already wealthy Wall Street investors. AT&T needs to keep its promise of creating good jobs and building next-generation fiber networks to serve all of its customers, not just those in big cities and wealthy neighborhoods.”
AT&T continuously responds to criticism of its massive job cuts with boasts about hiring and by saying that workers have the option to relocate. But AT&T workers and their union note that hiring to address turnover is not the same as job creation. The company’s relocation options are often hundreds of miles away from workers’ homes and families in communities with dramatically higher costs of living, making relocation unviable for the majority of employees. The facts in AT&T’s own Q2 reports are clear—they have 27,828 fewer people on their payroll than they did at the beginning of 2018.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was one of the most fervent proponents of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and said AT&T would use its tax dollars to create at least 7,000 jobs. CWA has been leading the charge to hold AT&T accountable to the jobs promises the company made as part of its effort to pass the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. In March, CWA President Chris Shelton testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee about the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on American workers, and called on Congress to probe AT&T on how it is spending its tax cut money, saying: “You may ask ‘what is AT&T doing with this money if it’s not being used to create jobs and invest in the U.S.?’ We’d like to know as well.”