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AT&T workers want Congress to investigate company's use of tax cut benefits

Posted at 8:15 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 10:56:54-05

CLEVELAND — AT&T workers are asking Ohio members of Congress to support an investigation of the companies use of tax cut benefits.

Last week, workers represented by the Communications Workers of America met with several members of Ohio's congressional delegation.

“CEO Randall Stephenson stated that [the tax cut] would promote job creation, but there are massive and deep cutting layoffs to the loyal employees that helped create and maintain AT&T,” wrote a CWA member from Akron, Ohio. “This is not corporate loyalty to the people who maintain this company. It is corporate greed catering to the top shareholders and forsaking those below just trying to earn an honest middle-class living.”

“Without these jobs the middle class is disappearing at an alarming rate,” wrote an AT&T technician from Kent, Ohio with 23 years of service. “Our communities suffer, our families are faced with insurmountable obstacles every day and we continue to scramble in the face of exponential increases in health care costs, housing costs, and fewer employment options that offer a living wage. It is truly a race to the bottom.”

The union said the company continues to eliminate jobs throughout the Midwest. They said AT&T eliminated 11,780 jobs since the tax cuts took effect and have closed three call centers in the Midwest.

"Regarding the call center closures in the Midwest referenced by the union, that work was consolidated into other U.S. facilities to increase efficiency and effectiveness, and in most cases affected employees were offered the opportunity to work in those facilities, and a relocation allowance," AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said.

Richter said the company hired 20,000 people in the U.S. last year, including over 500 in Ohio.

AT&T is adding people in areas where they are seeing increased customer demand for products and services, according to Richter.

"At the same time, technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we must sometimes adjust our workforce in some of those areas. It’s not always easy, but like any business we must work consistently to ensure our workforce is aligned with the needs of our customers and the business," Richter said.