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'A Slap In The Face': AT&T Workers ‘Upset Jobs Slashed Despite’ Trump Tax Cuts

Published Wednesday, March 11, 2020
by Michael Sainato/The Guardian
'A Slap In The Face': AT&T Workers ‘Upset Jobs Slashed Despite’ Trump Tax Cuts

(ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA) - The day after Paul Lorenzano found out he was being laid off from his job in January as an AT&T Technician in Arcadia, California, the company sent out an e-mail to all Employees congratulating the workforce on AT&T’s profits and fiscal performance in 2019.  “We met or exceeded all of our commitments for the year.  That’s thanks to a lot of good work on your part,” AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said in the e-mail

Lorenzano - who worked at the company for over four years before receiving his termination notice, along with dozens of other AT&T DirecTV Technicians across California, was devastated: “That felt like a ‘complete slap in the face, saying how great we were but here is your final pay stub because we did so great last year so we’re going to keep this money and not invest in back into the employment force like they said they would.’”

It was not meant to be like this.

Huge tax cuts, supported by AT&T, were meant to allow companies to hire more and pay better - but instead AT&T has cut 37,818 jobs in the U.S. from when the Republican Trump Administration Tax Cut Bill first went into effect in 2018 to the end of 2019, with more than 4,000 jobs cut in the last quarter of 2019, based on the company’s quarterly reports.

The company strongly supported Trump’s Tax Cut Bill and promised Workers a $1,000 bonus ahead of the Bill’s passage amid claims of a hiring spree.

The Bill, passed in December 2017, cut the Corporate Tax Rate from 35% to 21%, saving AT&T an estimated $21 billion initially, with an estimated $3 billion in annual savings.

Despite AT&T’s promises to invest these savings back into their workforce, the company has shed Employees since the Bill went into effect, while capital investments have declined.

In 2018, AT&T’s capital investments declined to $21.25 billion and the company announced plans to reduce it further in 2020 to $20 billion, while rolling out a three-year plan to spend $30 billion on stock buybacks.

For newly-unemployed Workers like Lorenzano, that situation has added insult to deep injury.  “AT&T ‘talks about its extensive relations with employees, how you can climb the ladder, that there’s room for growth.’  ‘When I put all my chips in that basket, all of a sudden it gets taken away and now I’m left with nothing.’  ‘Right now I’m grasping for straws, panicking, trying to figure out what I’m going to do now,’” he said.

Overall, Workers have not benefited from the Trump Tax Cut Bill, despite several corporations  claiming bonuses and wage increases were due to the Bill’s passage.

“Even at the time, this was ‘clearly nothing but PR.’  The economic theory ‘linking’ corporate tax cuts to wage gains ‘was never supposed to occur immediately.’  ‘Instead, it runs through a long chain of economic events, starting with increased investment,’” said Hunter Blair, Budget Analyst with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“Without an ‘uptick’ in investment, ‘typical’ workers ‘have no chance of benefiting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.’  And for the first time since the Great Recession, ‘investment has declined for three straight quarters.’  With investment ‘cratering, there’s no reason to believe typical Workers will see the benefits that proponents of the Bill promised,” Blair said.

As AT&T has reduced investment, the company has continued cutting jobs in 2020, with the layoff of 200 Technicians in California.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has warned more than 30,000 additional job cuts or elimination in wages and benefits are coming if the proposals of AT&T’s Hedge Fund Investor, Elliot Management, are enacted.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/10/at-and-t-layoffs-jobs-slashed-trump-tax-cuts?fbclid=IwAR3cNQdcuAvqDO6swBWxRomIfDgLxt1NtJykaizRJZXX7EZ9Hl97E4Q5PHs

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