Tags: at&t | fire | christmas | trump | tax | bonuses

AT&T Said to Fire Hundreds at Christmas Amid Trump Tax Bonuses

AT&T Said to Fire Hundreds at Christmas Amid Trump Tax Bonuses
(Mohamed Ahmed Soliman | Dreamstime)

By    |   Sunday, 24 December 2017 08:45 PM

AT&T, which has touted giving $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees in the wake of the Republican tax overhaul, reportedly have fired hundreds of workers in Illinois and five other Midwest states.

About 600 workers across a variety of positions, from retail sales clerks to satellite technicians, were notified of the layoffs last week, sources close to the situation told the Chicago Tribune.

The Dallas telecommunications giant wouldn't confirm the scope of the layoffs, but it acknowledged in an emailed statement that it was making “workforce adjustments” in its declining legacy services, the Tribune reported.

“Technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we’re adjusting our workforce in some of those areas as we continue to align our workforce with the changing needs of the business,” the Tribune quoted the company as saying.

“Many of the affected employees have a job offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company, and we’ll work to find other jobs for as many of them as possible.”

AT&T last week said it will give more than 200,000 U.S. workers a special $1,000 bonus to celebrate the signing of the tax-cut bill, Bloomberg reported.

The payment will go to union-represented, non-management and front-line management employees, AT&T said in a statement. The Dallas-based telecommunications giant, a vocal supporter of the Republican-backed tax legislation approved in Congress Wednesday, also reiterated its plan to invest an additional $1 billion in the U.S. next year.

The Tribune report comes days after the New York Post reported that the company "pink-slipped more than 700 DirecTV home installers." (AT&T owns DirecTV and is currently trying to acquire Time Warner, another cable provider, for a reported $85 billion.), according to Newsweek.

Tthe Post also reported that AT&T has recently laid off "215 high-skilled technician jobs in nine Southern states" and plans to fire nearly 700 workers in Texas and Missouri beginning in February.

Ironically, just last month CEO Randall Stephenson pledged to create 7,000 jobs with $1 billion AT&T it expects to save on taxes, the New York Post reported.

Add to that 280 jobs that will be cut beginning Feb. 17 at AT&T’s Dallas credit and collections center, a source to AT&T confirmed. Also in February,  278 jobs will be cut at AT&T’s El Paso, Texas call center. Yet another 87 positions will be scaled back at the company’s Kansas City, Mo. credit and collections center, according to the source.

AT&T also fired an undisclosed number of workers in November at its Atlanta-based entertainment wireless group, a worker said.

This smattering of layoffs alone — likely only part of the looming bloodbath, according to sources — could save AT&T as much as $100 million.

As such, the total layoffs could save AT&T enough cash to offset the $200 million in bonuses it’s planning — and which earned praise from Trump earlier this week.

Meanwhile, after an exchange between AT&T's CEO and a union representing its workers, the company said it took steps to pay workers a $1,000 bonus in response to Trump's tax cuts.

The announcement by the company Wednesday had raised questions about whether it was attempting to curry favor with Trump. The president has been a vocal critic of AT&T's proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner, which also owns CNN — the media outlet the Trump administration has treated as a nemesis, the Washington Post reported.

Other companies quickly followed AT&T's lead, including Boeing, Comcast and Wells Fargo. This led to questions among corporate watchdogs about whether this was a coordinated effort to generate public support for a plan that bestows much of its benefits on the wealthy and corporations.

But AT&T said its decision to give a bonus to 200,000 workers stemmed from an inquiry by the Communications Workers of America, a union representing many of its workers.

The union sent a letter to AT&T last month asking it to guarantee workers would receive the $4,000 raise that White House economists said would be the result of the corporate tax cuts. Few mainstream economists believe the $1.5 trillion tax cut will lead to annual wage gains of that magnitude.

Stephenson said in a phone call with the head of the union that company couldn't do the $4,000 raise but was considering a $1,000 bonus to union and non-union employees, company spokesman Larry Solomon said.

Candice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the union, said Stephenson first discussed the bonus with CWA president Chris Shelton last week.

Solomon said that before announcing the bonus on Wednesday, AT&T gave a quick heads up to members of Congress and the White House, as well as informing the Business Roundtable, an association representing CEOs.

This story has been updated to correct the attribution on AT&T giving a heads up to Congress and the White House to Solomon, not Stephenson.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

© 2019 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

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AT&T, which has touted giving $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees in the wake of the Republican tax overhaul, reportedly have fired hundreds of workers in Illinois and five other Midwest states.
at&t, fire, christmas, trump, tax, bonuses
Sunday, 24 December 2017 08:45 PM
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