Monday, March 4, 2019

CWA Union Pickets AT&T Offices in San Antonio Over Continued Job Cuts

Posted By on Mon, Mar 4, 2019 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge CWA union members march in front of the AT&T building on Broadway. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • CWA union members march in front of the AT&T building on Broadway.
Members of the Communications Workers of America picketed at AT&T's Broadway offices on Monday afternoon, demanding that the company — once headquartered in San Antonio — keep good-paying jobs in the United States.

The Dallas-based telecom giant has reaped $20 billion in savings from the Trump tax plan, and union officials point out that CEO Randall Stephenson once said the company would create "7,000 middle-class jobs" for every $1 billion it saves in taxes.

Instead, AT&T's own securities filings show it's jettisoned nearly 12,000 jobs in 2018. And the company's also shuttered more than 40 call centers since 2011, according to a report by the Guardian.

"The work is there, if they'd stop outsourcing and offshoring it," CWA Vice President Lisa Bolton said, as several hundred union members walked the sidewalk, chanting and holding placards. "The work and the technology's always changing, but it's work our members can do."

By email, AT&T spokesman Dale Ingram said the company hired more than 20,000 people in the U.S. last year, 3,000 of those in Texas. It also paid a $1,000 bonus to employees after the tax cuts went into effect and invested $800 million toward its employee and retiree medical trust.

"What [Stephenson said] about jobs is that research shows 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," Ingram added. 

Employees in two AT&T units — its Midwest and legacy divisions — have been working since since last April without a contact. The company's unwillingness to commit to creating new U.S. jobs has been the major sticking point, Bolton added.

If CWA calls a strike, it would be the first walkout at AT&T since a brief 2017 work stoppage over stymied contract talks for 17,000 workers.

"We hope to avoid a strike," Bolton said. "But we can can't continue to say nothing while they outsource and offshore our jobs."

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