The Communications Workers of America (CWA) today announced a multi-state political effort focused on the Midwest with radio ads spotlighting AT&T's cuts to U.S. jobs in the wake of the GOP tax bill. The first group of radio ads will air in Dallas, where AT&T is headquartered, and in major cities in Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. The ads alert voters in key congressional districts to AT&T's broken jobs promises and urge lawmakers who voted for the tax plan to hold AT&T accountable to its tax bill promises.
Before the Republican tax plan passed, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pledged $1 billion in tax savings toward creating "7,000 good jobs for the middle class." Instead, despite $20 billion in tax savings, a new CWA analysis based on AT&T's Q2 earnings report estimates that the company has eliminated over 7,000 jobs since January 2018 when the tax cuts took effect. The company's latest quarterly earnings report reveals nearly $10 billion in profits in the first half of this year and indicates that AT&T is increasing its spending on share buybacks to the highest level since 2014.
"AT&T broke its promises to American workers and has devastated our communities," said Linda L. Hinton, Vice President for CWA District 4, which covers the Midwest. "We know now what the GOP tax breaks were really for – buying back stocks to line the pockets of wealthy shareholders and executives. Now it's time for the Republicans who passed the tax bill to show if they really stand with working families. If not, they'll be hearing from us on election day."
The radio ads detail how AT&T used its tax break to enrich executives rather than create jobs and raise wages for American workers. The ads call out Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-08) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) in Michigan; Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6), Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), and Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-14) in Illinois; Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6) in Colorado; Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) in Indiana; Jason Lewis (MN-02) and Erik Paulsen (MN-03) in Minnesota; and Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16), who is running to represent Ohio in the Senate.
"AT&T has taken advantage of the break that Congressman Renacci gave them, and passed it on to wealthy shareholders and executives," says the narrator in the 60-second spot. "Communications Workers of America members are currently in contract negotiations with AT&T, fighting to keep good, family-supporting jobs in Ohio. It's time for Congressman Renacci to support Ohio families and demand that AT&T keep its promise to invest here at home – instead of shipping more jobs overseas."
"Big corporations like AT&T and those running for office need to know that working people in America won't be forgotten," said Jeremy Bain, who has worked at AT&T's call center in Saginaw, MI for 14 years. "Our families and communities have been left behind by companies like AT&T that line their pockets offshoring U.S. jobs and collecting big tax breaks. It's time for AT&T to invest in the workers and communities that have made the company successful."
A recent report from CWA found that AT&T has closed 44 call centers and eliminated 16,000 call center jobs in the last seven years. The Midwest has been particularly hard hit by closures and layoffs.
"AT&T can certainly afford to keep good family-supporting jobs in our communities," said CWA Vice President of Telecommunications & Technologies Lisa Bolton. "It's shameful for these members of Congress to stay silent while AT&T sends layoff notices to their constituents and moves the work to low-wage contractors."
The union has been leading the charge to hold AT&T and other corporations accountable to their tax bill promises by publicly challenging them to reveal their spending plans for the tax windfall. CWA and other major unions filed information requests at over five companies and took action against companies like AT&T over its broken tax bill promises.
CWA has also been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that elected officials are addressing the issues that matter to working families, driving critical conversations about jobs, the economy, and corporate accountability at the local, state, and federal level. Union members are channeling their anger into action at their workplaces, in the streets, and at the ballot box.
14,000 AT&T workers with CWA – including many in key midwestern swing states – are poised to strike if the company refuses to commit to protecting U.S. jobs.
Listen to the ads: www.goodjobsatt.org/radio-ads-atts-tax-breaks-and-broken-promises
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.