AT&T has been posting record profits each and every quarter for quite a few years now, and Trump’s tax bill also gave AT&T around $20 billion that it could spend on other things – other than taxes. Yet, the carrier has closed 44 call centers since 2011. The carrier has been moving its call centers over to other countries, where it can pay the workers even less – and in some cases, as little as $2 per hour. Out of the 44 call centers closed in the past seven years, four of those were in the past year. During the time that AT&T was purchasing Time Warner.
In the first half of 2018, AT&T has brought in nearly $10 billion in profit, and has spent $16.45 billion on stock buy backs in the past five years. That includes $419 million that was spent on buy backs in the second quarter of 2018, alone. Virginia Doellgast, Chair of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell University stated that “offshoring call center jobs often saves money in the short term. It is more difficult to calculate the longer-term costs of offshoring, but they can be significant.”
Now to be fair, when Trump’s tax bill went into effect last year, AT&T did issue a press release stating that it would give around 200,000 employees a bonus of $1,000 in the next year. However, AT&T did not mention that this bonus was already negotiated by the union that represents AT&T’s workers. Meaning that AT&T was going to be paying their workers that $1,000 bonus with or without the tax bill from the Trump Administration. Now it’s common for companies to close up shop on some locations that it no longer needs, to save money, which is partly the case here with its call centers, but AT&T did not do a whole lot in offering their employees jobs after closing these call centers. Many were forced to find a job elsewhere in the company, in another city. For example, some in the Cleveland call center would be forced to get a job in Detroit – about a two to three hour drive away. Which is going to mean moving for many people. So despite bringing in record profit each quarter, AT&T is still not treating its employees right.