Over two dozen U.S. lawmakers questioned AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson over the wireless carrier's plans for using the profits generated from last year's tax bill which provided it with major savings. Democratic Representatives Mark Pocan and Debbie Dingell authored a letter co-signed by 23 of their Capitol Hill peers which raises a number of questions regarding AT&T's recent corporate decisions, including its prolonged negotiations with Communications Workers of America, the nation's largest labor union of wireless workers.
Stateside legislators are particularly concerned about AT&T's efforts to drive job growth in the United States, with Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and a group of his colleagues recently authoring another letter in which they urged the telecom giant to provide CWA-represented workers with a "fair contract," something the company claims it already suggested in the past, though all of its proposals have been shot down by the union so far. Some 14,000 workers covered by AT&T's Legacy T and Midwest contracts are still facing uncertainty over their jobs that their union claims continue being outsourced and eliminated.
AT&T previously argued all of its employees enjoy pay and benefits that are well above the industry average, having repeated as much in a Monday statement given to AndroidHeadlines. "No company is more invested in the American workforce than AT&T and we are currently hiring thousands of people, with 8,500 hired so far this year and over 87,000 over the past three years," a company spokesperson said. "We're committed to reaching fair agreements and the terms we are proposing will make these employees better off. They currently average over $120,000 a year in pay and benefits, with some making over $200,000. Last year we paid a special $1,000 bonus to all of our frontline U.S. employees after tax reform was passed. That's in addition to the $800 million we invested toward our employee and retiree medical trust, and nearly $100 million for our AT&T charitable foundation."
Senator Brown is now asking AT&T for an explicit pledge to create new well-paying jobs in the country, casting a shade over the Republican tax bill that provided big businesses with massive tax breaks with the goal of having that extra money be reinvested into the country's economy. CWA is still holding Mr. Stephenson on to his statement that the billion dollars AT&T is set to invest in the U.S. this year may create some "7,000 good jobs for the middle class," with the wireless carrier being quick to point out that the figure in question was a rough estimate and wasn't directly related to tax saving but capital expenditures. The two letters to AT&T's chief can be read in their entirety by referring to the banners below. The Dallas-based company recently completed its $85.6 billion acquisition of Time Warner following a legal battle with the Justice Department and is now expected to make additional investments in 5G before turning its focus toward lowering its rising debt over the next decade.Pocan Dingell's Letter Brown's Letter