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Syracuse, N.Y. – On Tuesday, AT&T confirmed it is closing a 150-employee call center in Syracuse, New York. The company told workers, many of whom have been with AT&T for more than twenty years, they could move to Orange Park, Florida to stay employed. These are the latest job cuts from AT&T after it announced a round of layoffs including call center closures in Indianapolis (Ind.), Kalamazoo (Mich.) and Appleton (Wis.) in December and has cut 10,700 jobs since the tax bill passed.
"AT&T should have to explain why it's rolling out closure after closure, and upending lives of workers who've given the company so much," said CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton. "To be out in front of the tax bill making promises about jobs and then pushing workers to relocate over 1,000 miles away—there is simply no excuse. AT&T is profitable, there's an abundance of work to do in the company and no good reason why these jobs need to be moved out Syracuse."
"I cannot understand why AT&T is putting our livelihoods and the greater good for Syracuse at risk," said Monica Edwards, who is slated for layoff along with many of her coworkers. "We need jobs with family-supporting wages and benefits in our communities, and with my kids in school and a home mortgage, it's totally unrealistic for me to uproot myself at a moment's notice. Many of us will be forced to leave the company."
AT&T is increasingly under fire for broken jobs promises despite $20 billion in tax savings following the corporate tax bill. While AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson once boasted that every $1 billion in tax savings will create "about 7,000 good jobs for the middle class." While AT&T boasts about hiring, the truth is that hiring is not the same as job creation and the company's own documents show that it has eliminated more that 10,700 jobs in 2018 alone.
A report by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) examines the telecom giant's continued role in hollowing out the middle class by eliminating thousands of jobs, closing call centers, and shifting customer service and network maintenance to low-wage contractors, including overseas vendors. As AT&T is shedding jobs, it is on track to pay out three-quarters of its 2018 profits to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks.
CWA is calling on Congress to investigate how AT&T is using the enormous tax cut benefits they received from the 2018 tax bill. Last month, CWA sent a letter to Congressman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the current ranking member and incoming Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, urging the congressman to include AT&T in his tax bill investigation and oversight.
CWA has been leading the charge to hold AT&T 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.
After AT&T refused to provide this information, CWA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Trump-appointed NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb dismissed CWA's complaint. Since the NLRB has taken the position that ensuring that these tax savings benefit workers as promised goes beyond CWA's role as a union, CWA is calling on Chairman Neal and Congress to use their investigative powers to ensure that workers receive the benefits they were promised.