CWA/AT&T Midwest Bargaining Report #82

August 10, 2018

Fighting Today…Focused on the Future!

The Broken Promises Tour wrapped up today and actions have ramped up with the public media campaign, yard signs, rallies, petition drives, and your continued mobilization in the workplace. It seems to have resulted in an attempt by AT&T to discredit the message we are sharing. The company says some members of CWA are making misleading statements. In fact, the members of CWA are saying what is only truthful based on the company’s statements both publicly and to the Midwest Bargaining Committee. Let’s recap the company’s latest attempt to convince you that their facts are correct.

We invest in America, and in good American jobs

We’re proud to be one of the country’s largest union employers. We continue to invest in good, middle-class careers in areas where we’re seeing increasing demand for our products and services. In fact, in the past three years, we’ve hired more than 87,000 people in the U.S., most of them union members.

The company math on this statement just doesn’t add up. Hiring to replace people that have left the business isn’t creating jobs. The statistics they report to the government show they have cut 7000 jobs since they received the windfall from the corporate tax cuts. Just ask yourself, are there any new employees in the workplace I am in? AT&T’s statement does not include all the facts.

And, over the past five years (2013-2017), AT&T’s total investment in the United States, including capital investment and acquisitions of spectrum and wireless operations, was over $135 billion – more than any other public company. When we invest capital in the U.S., it creates jobs at AT&T and at thousands of our suppliers, large and small.

So we must ask ourselves if this investment created any jobs in the Midwest region. It does not appear so. While it’s certainly notable they cite this investment, it was also necessary for them to keep up with the changing technology in the consumer driven markets. The jobs they cite for suppliers large and small do not create the strong middle class jobs that exist in our union-bargained contracts. This claim is misleading.

Setting the record straight on AT&T and tax reform

For months, the CWA has been making inaccurate and misleading statements regarding a non-existent “promise” around tax reform and jobs. When tax reform passed, AT&T was crystal clear that it plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the U.S. this year as a result of tax reform. We are fulfilling that plan. We also pointed to research showing that every $1 billion in capital invested in the telecom industry creates about 7,000 good-paying jobs for American workers across the broader economy. Check out page 5 of our Annual Report.

We have hired over 8,000 employees in the U.S. this year and are currently hiring thousands more.

In addition to announcing plans for that additional $1 billion in investment, the company did this:

·Paid a special $1,000 bonus to our U.S. employees – all our union-represented employees, non-management employees and front-line managers – totaling $200 million.

·Benefitted current and former employees by investing $800 million toward our employee and retiree medical trust.

·Invested nearly $100 million in our AT&T charitable foundation.

We want to make sure you know the facts regarding the union’s misleading statements.

The company was on record stating they would create 7000 jobs for each billion they made in capital investment as a result of the corporate tax cuts. In fact, AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson was quoted as saying “The arithmetic for us is simple: For every billion dollars of additional investment we make is 7,000 additional jobs we have to put on to put that capital into the ground or on cell towers and so forth,” he said, adding that those jobs would likely be hard hat jobs that pay well.

Instead, the company directors have been buying back stock at a record pace. Buying low and driving the price up… the rich getting richer. The bonus… while anyone can appreciate a bonus, the company laid off nearly the same amount of employees as they said they would hire, and basically used what would have been salaries for those employees as a large portion of the bonus payout.

We are focused on a fair contract that moves you forward economically and presents opportunities to ensure you have jobs and access to work. Is that so much to ask from a company that indicates they are generous beyond comparison? We must continue this fight for our future. Continue to mobilize and ramp up the public pressure by getting your families and friends to support our petition.

Now who is misleading again??

You can view some of Randall’s statements, which AT&T never challenged as misleading, at the following links:

CNBC 5/4/2017 – “he said AT&T would have to add 7,000 jobs to execute on every $1 billion of capital investment.”

Dallas News 5/4/2017 – “The arithmetic for us is simple: For every billion dollars of additional investment we make is 7,000 additional jobs we have to put on to put that capital into the ground or on cell towers and so forth,” he said, adding that those jobs would likely be “hard hat” jobs that pay well.”

In Solidarity,

Your CWA District 4 Bargaining Team

Curt Hess, Tina Culver, Dan Frazier, Kim Gallardo, Tim Strong, Greg Tennyson, Jay Walther, Ron Gay, Mike Handley

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