WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter sent late last week to AT&T CEO John Stankey, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with seven other senate Democrats, demanded answers about AT&T's recently announced job cuts. AT&T plans to eliminate more than 3,400 union-represented wireline technician and clerical jobs and 1,300 retail jobs at 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores that are slated to close. The senators also insisted that AT&T provide a state-by-state breakdown of the current job cuts and projected job cuts for the remainder of 2020, and asked the company to indicate whether any of the work previously done by the workers whose jobs have been cut will be done by contractors or sent overseas.
"AT&T is one of America's strongest and most profitable corporations. They should be playing a leadership role in our country's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chris Shelton, CWA President. "Instead, AT&T has once again put wealthy shareholders first and destabilized thousands of working families amid one of our country's most devastating economic downturns. The CWA family thanks Senator Brown and his colleagues for demanding real, timely answers from AT&T and for supporting the workers who have been keeping our communications systems running during this crisis."
In less than three years, AT&T has cut more than 40,000 jobs. Those cuts have occurred despite AT&T's promise to hire 7,000 new employees as part of the $21 billion tax windfall the company received as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The letter notes that AT&T's cuts have fallen disproportionately on employees who are union members, which "calls into question the underlying objective of AT&T's layoff announcement."
"We understand that for many businesses, the only response to the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency has been to shutter their doors and lay off workers. We object, however, to corporations using the pandemic as justification for continuing to make anti-worker decisions that are aimed at boosting share price," the senators wrote.
In addition to Brown, the letter was signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
The full letter and press release from Sen. Brown's office can be found here.