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Dozens of Midwestern Elected Officials Call on AT&T to Suspend Job Cuts to Aid Pandemic Recovery

Reliable broadband service and family-supporting jobs will allow America to build back better

WASHINGTON -- Elected officials from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana released letters Wednesday calling on AT&T to suspend job cuts and offshoring in order to support America’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These letters follow a July request from a group of U.S. Senators, including Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), demanding answers from AT&T about projected job cuts.

Since receiving a $21 billion windfall from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, AT&T has steadily cut jobs each quarter, despite promises to create 7,000 new jobs. Overall, AT&T has eliminated over 40,000 jobs, including more than 3,500 CWA-represented positions in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana.

In their letters to AT&T CEO John Stankey, United States Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Andy Levin of Michigan, Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, and Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, Jamael Tito Brown along with several prominent government officials (full-list found below), have laid out a set of recommendations to help America’s economic recovery:

  • Suspending cuts to technician jobs cuts so long as any work is contracted out.
  • Suspending cuts to call center job cuts so long as any work is offshored or contracted out.
  • Suspending cuts to retail jobs so long as the company utilizes authorized dealers.
  • Honoring agreements of neutrality and voluntary recognition with the Communications Workers of America to allow all workers at companies acquired by AT&T to join the union without management opposition or interference.

“These elected officials know how much their communities depend on good, family-supporting jobs and reliable, up-to-date communications systems, and we thank them for their support,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “Many areas in the Midwest do not have access to the high-speed internet connections that have become indispensable for education, health care, remote work and other services during the pandemic. AT&T’s union workforce and its commitment to universal service was the bedrock for economic growth and stability for millions of Americans. It's time for AT&T to show that it is ready to build back better from this pandemic. If AT&T's executives truly care about their employees, their customers and our country, they will end these job cuts and build the next generation of broadband across America using their skilled, dependable union workforce.”

AT&T prides itself on being one of the nation’s largest union employers, which elected officials acknowledge in their letters. However, the percentage of the company’s union workforce has decreased, with only 40 percent of its workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements. Many of the company’s jobs have shifted to contractors who pay lower wages and provide few, if any, benefits. AT&T is relying on these contractors to build its 5G network and has outsourced and offshored customer service jobs. The company has also eliminated union jobs at corporate-owned retail stores, instead relying on a network of non-union authorized retailers.

Here is a full list of the elected officials who have written to AT&T’s CEO, calling for the suspension of job cuts. Copies of the letters are available on request.

Ohio

Ohio State Representatives Emilia Sykes, Michael J. Skindell, Tom Patton; Jamael Tito Brown, Mayor of Youngstown; Kathleen Clyde, Portage County Commissioner; Shammas Malik, Councilman, City of Akron; John Zanfardino, Councilor, City of Bowling Green; Elizabeth Brown, Council President Pro Tem, City of Columbus; Aryeh Alex, Trustee, Franklin Township; Chantel Raghu, Councilor, City of Oxford; Anthony Caldwell, Board Member, South-Western City School District (Franklin County); Michael Carano, Council at-Large, City of Tallmadge; Nick Komives, Council Member At-Large, City of Toledo

Michigan

United States Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Andy Levin; Michigan State Senator, Paul Wojno; Michigan State Representatives Cynthia Neeley, Vanessa Guerra, Alex Garza, Jon Hoadley, Mari Manoogian; Derek Dobies, Mayor of Jackson; Fred Miller, Macomb County Clerk & Register of Deeds; Raquel Castañeda-López, Detroit City Council member; Art Reyes, Mott Community College Trustee; Eric-John Szczepaniak, Kenowa Hills Public Schools Trustee; Washtenaw County Commissioners Katie Scott, Sue Shink

Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson; Wisconsin State Representative Jonathan Brostoff; Clinton Anderson, Council Vice President, City of Beloit; Megan Miller, Vice President, Beloit Board of Education; Jeremy Gragert, City Council Member, City of Eau Claire; Robert Hansen, Board Member, Greenfield School District; Stephanie Kemp, former Alderwoman, City of Kenosha; Patrick Heck, Alder, City of Madison; Cavalier Johnson, Common Council President, City of Milwaukee; Chantia Lewis, Alderwoman, City of Milwaukee; Michael Murphy, Alderman, City of Milwaukee; Sequanna Taylor, 1st Vice Chair, Milwaukee County; Steven Shea, 2nd Vice Chair, Milwaukee County; Paru Shah, President, Shorewood Board of Education; Ashley Nedeau-Owen, Town Chair, Town of West Point

Indiana

Indiana State Senators, Frank Mrvan, J.D. Ford, David Niezgodski, Karen Tallian; Charlie Wyatt, Mayor of Boonville

https://cwa-union.org/news/releases/dozens-of-midwestern-elected-officia...

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