AT&T has cut over 37,000 jobs since the Tax Cut and Jobs Act went into effect two years ago. In its quarterly earnings report earlier this week, the company reported record operating and free cash flow and has announced more than $5 billion in stock buybacks.
Although President Trump, Republican congressional leaders, and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pledged that the tax bill would lead to more jobs, higher wages, and greater investment, those benefits have not materialized. Instead, corporations have used their tax windfall to finance stock buybacks which benefit wealthy investors and corporate executives.
AT&T has continued to cater to the demands of controversial vulture hedge fund Elliott Management, which purchased a stake in AT&T in September 2019. Elliott is pushing AT&T to extract profits from the company by eliminating jobs, outsourcing work, and divesting critical assets. In early October, AT&T announced that it would sell off its Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island Mobility units to Liberty Latin America (LLA), putting at risk the deployment of FirstNet and nearly 900 union jobs.
"The list of communities being destroyed all across America continues to grow with the elimination of jobs at AT&T, despite promises of job creation from company executives," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "To make matters worse, AT&T is using its profits to enrich wealthy shareholders instead of investing in building the next generation networks that Americans, especially in rural and underserved areas, so desperately need. CWA members and our allies will keep fighting until the company stops eliminating jobs so that they can provide the high-quality service that customers deserve."