AT&T Has Now Eliminated 41,000 Jobs Since Its $42 Billion Trump Tax Cut
from the a-bad-deal-that-keeps-getting-worse dept
AT&T informed its union employees last week that the company would soon begin yet another round of layoffs, after repeatedly promising that industry deregulation and its $42 billion tax cut would result in job growth and a major network investment boom. According to the Communications Workers of America, AT&T says it’s laying off 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country over the next few weeks. They’re also shutting down over 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores, which will eliminate another 1,300 retail jobs.
While many will imply these layoffs are due to COVID-19, they’re simply part of a longstanding workforce reduction effort at AT&T. According to the union, AT&T has now eliminated 41,000 positions since receiving a $42 billion Trump tax cut. The CWA conveniently provided a chart, drawn from AT&T earnings reports and filings, that show what AT&T’s been up to:
The problem: AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson went on live television in 2017 and insisted that the Trump tax cut would result in “thousands of high paying jobs”:
“These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year…?I cannot overstate how important I think a tax bill that makes the US corporate taxes a competitive regime around the world ? that?s big. That?s significant.”
That, of course, never happened. And analysis of the Trump tax cut has made it clear that other than making a lot of rich folks notably richer, the cuts accomplished jack shit. Not only did the package not pay for itself, the economic boost it provided was short lived and negligible. And, one has to think, the money thrown at the nation’s biggest corporations would certainly have come in handy during a raging pandemic with 45 million unemployed Americans and an endless parade of struggling startups and small businesses.
Granted that was just one of AT&T’s many promises. AT&T also repeatedly claimed that the FCC’s decision to neuter its authority over telecom (of which the net neutrality was only a small part) would result in unprecedented job growth and network investment. Again, the exact opposite happened, just like the last dozen times AT&T lobbyists have played this game in DC (BellSouth merger, net neutrality repeal, FCC broadband privacy rule repeal, fiber deployment subsidies).
Every, single time AT&T wants something (merger approval, deregulation, subsidies, tax breaks) it promises the Earth, sea and sky. And every, single time, the company fails to deliver and nobody on any level is held accountable. Ever. Nobody, in either party of the U.S. government, has taken any serious steps to thwart this idiotic gravy train (especially those myopically and often performatively focused on “big tech”). Meanwhile, about 90% of the coverage from “he said, she said” media outlets excludes this grift rodeo as essential context.
AT&T receiving countless billions in tax cuts, subsidies, and regulatory FCC favors in exchange for absolutely fucking nothing is the story. Yet that’s simply not mentioned at all by most large outlets, despite the fact that AT&T’s bullshit promises haven’t even been scrubbed from the company’s website yet.
While COVID-19 will likely provide cover, AT&T’s real motivation lies elsewhere. The company spent so much money on megamergers (DirecTV in 2015, Time Warner in 2018) it’s drowning in debt. And while these acquisitions were supposed to help the company dominate the streaming video and mobile video ad sectors, the company’s actually been losing video subscribers hand over fist. In part due to rate hikes imposed on consumers to recoup said debt. It’s an ouroboros of dysfunction caused by high-level executives, but as usual consumers and workers get to pay the real bill.