AT&T announced that once the tax bill is signed into law it would add $1 billion to its capital budget and “pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers.”
Apparently influenced by the GOP’s bald-faced lies that the tax plan will benefit middle-class families, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said, “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs,” even as the company announced the elimination of 700 DirecTV jobs in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
A Missouri WARN notice said the company planned to lay-off 87 workers in Kansas City on or about Feb. 17, 2018. Information for Illinois was not immediately available.
On Nov. 29, Stephenson had said AT&T would create an estimated 7,000 jobs if tax reform passed.
‘MAKES NO SENSE’
“How can you lay people off and then give them $1,000 and say that there’s going to be more jobs available?” Joseph Blanco, president of CWA Local 6360 in Kansas City told local television station Fox 4 News. “I wish someone could tell me how that’s possible because I have to explain that to my members, and right now, at this time of year, this is a difficult pill to swallow.
“It makes no sense. It creates a lot of tension and, quite frankly, a lot of our members are on edge because they don’t understand the direction of this company and its mentality of how they’re being treated,” he said.
CURRYING FAVOR WITH TRUMP
AT&T’s announcement that it would pay workers a $1,000 bonus in response to President Donald Trump’s and the GOP’s tax cuts raised questions about whether the company was only offering the bonuses to curry favor with Trump, who has been a vocal critic of AT&T’s proposed $85 billion merger with Tim Warner, which also owns CNN – Trump’s media nemesis.
Before the tax plan’s passage Republican leaders promised households would receive on average, a yearly $4,000 wage increase as a result of the $1.5 trillion tax cut. They also claimed the corporate tax plan would produce new jobs in the U.S. as companies returned work from offshore locations.
Before announcing the bonus, the Associated Press reported, AT&T gave a quick heads up to members of Congress and the White House and the Business Roundtable, an association representing CEOs.
Other companies quickly followed AT&T’s lead, including Boeing, Comcast and Wells Fargo. The symbolic bonuses have led to corporate watchdogs to question whether the companies are engaged a coordinated effort to generate public support for a plan that bestows much of its benefits on the wealthy and corporations.