“AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has been one of the strongest supporters of the recently-passed tax plan, promising to use the massive corporate tax cuts for investments that would create thousands of middle class jobs,” a statement from the Communications Workers of America says. “By pushing forward with layoffs while continuing to subcontract work and send jobs overseas, AT&T is breaking its promise to American workers.”
Now, the CWA is suing AT&T in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division, alleging “the employer instituting an unprecedented massive layoff of employees represented by the union while at the same time massively subcontracting work that the employees are trained and qualified to perform, for the bad faith purpose of diminishing the employee bargaining unit for which the union serves as exclusive representative in willful, bad faith breach of a contractual promise to deal with the union with respect, fairness, and good faith.
This moves comes two weeks after Congress passed sweeping tax reform legislation, which prompted AT&T to announce it would provide $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 union employees. The carrier further said it would add $1 billion to its 2018 investment budget, according to a statement.
“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”
OK, so to break that down, Congress passes legislation that will save AT&T money, AT&T offers up bonuses to union workers, the carrier lays off union workers, union workers sue AT&T for violating collective bargaining agreements.
Per the lawsuit, AT&T is laying off 713 employees including 152 “premises technicians” due a “reduction in workload.”
In response to questions from Ars Technica, AT&T reportedly responded with this statement: “We’re adding people in many parts of our business that are experiencing higher customer demand. At the same time, 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.
“We’ll work to find other AT&T jobs for as many affected employees as possible. Regarding premises technicians, we adjust the workforce based on changing market dynamics, which vary from region to region. In some regions, we are hiring these same resources and these employees have the opportunity to transfer to those locations. It’s important to note that we still have thousands more premises technicians than we did two years ago.”