Columbus, OH – As the GOP struggles to sell its tax bill to Ohio voters ahead of the midterms, all nine Ohio State Senate Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yoko, and a group of twenty-seven Ohio House Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, have sent letters to AT&T Ohio President Adam Grzybicki, calling on the company to settle a fair contract with workers that protects and creates jobs as was promised by AT&T during debate over the tax bill.
Despite promises that tax windfalls would be used to create jobs, AT&T has announced layoffs and continues to outsource and offshore American jobs. In May, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against AT&T for refusing to provide information about the company’s plan to use its savings from the tax bill to invest in its workforce. CWA's Executive Board has authorized a strike by 14,000 workers covered by AT&T’s Midwest and Legacy T contracts.
In their letter sent last week, the senators stand with Ohio workers and call on AT&T to reach an agreement that improves workers’ job security.
“It is our understanding that just weeks after the tax bill passed, AT&T laid off 1,500 workers. We also were advised that, in addition to the previous surplus following the passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” AT&T announced another surplus list,” the letter states. “ We stand with the workers of Ohio and we support CWA’s bargaining position for job security, healthcare, and the return of contracted outsourced and offshored jobs.”
In their letter sent today, the house representatives call on AT&T to continue to work toward bargaining a contract that is fair to Ohio workers.
“As members of the Ohio Legislature we are concerned about the economic health and security of the 19,000 employees and families that the Communications Workers of America represent in Ohio. We know that doing business in a competitive global marketplace can be a challenge for companies like AT&T, but we believe a cooperative effort can bring about a fair solution for all involved.
We encourage AT&T to continue to work toward an appropriate resolution that is fair to Ohio workers and enhances AT&T’s long-term viability.”
“The time is now for AT&T to follow through on its tax bill promises to create good, family-supporting U.S. jobs and invest in workers,” said CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton. “While AT&T stonewalls workers at the bargaining table over offshoring and outsourcing, the company is pulling in billions in profits from the tax bills. AT&T workers will not give up on their fight against layoffs, cuts, and closures.”
Before the Republican tax bill passed, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pledged $1 billion in tax savings toward creating “7,000 good jobs for the middle class.” Instead, ongoing layoffs have compounded workers’ concerns about the company’s practice of shifting work to low-wage overseas contractors, which many believe is hurting the quality of service and damaging AT&T’s brand. The company’s touted investment of just $1 billion on capital projects and one-time $1,000 bonuses to employees is equivalent to just 7% of its expected annual profit from the cuts. Overall jobs numbers at AT&T are down 29,000 from two years ago, and new analysis shows that AT&T cut 7,000 jobs since the tax cuts took effect.
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 report reveals the devastating impact of recent call center closures across the Midwest, an area that has been particularly hard hit by closures and layoffs. Meanwhile, the company’s latest quarterly earnings report reveals $4.7 billion in profits and indicates that AT&T is spending more than ever on dividends and buybacks.
The letters and full list of signatories can be found here: