AT&T's widespread layoffs appear to have been largely unaffected by 2017's Tax Cut and Jobs Act, with approximately 23,328 employees being laid off since its passing, prompting the Communication Workers of America (CWA) to call for a Congressional investigation.
That's according to a recent report from the union which breaks down the figures to show that although the company has been hiring new workers, the numbers don't quite add up. The company took on approximately 30,000 new employees in June of last year as well as a further 1,410 in September. In that same year, it laid off 4,760 in March, 6,238 in June, 5,340 in September, and 1,060 in December.
The number rose to over 23,000 with 5,930 additional employees laid off in March of this year.
Taken together the numbers would equate to a greater number of hires than the 23,328 employees than those who were laid off in between 2018 and in the first three months of 2019. At issue for the CWA is that the ending balance of jobs is not much more than prior to the tax bill.
The union is now looking to Congress to determine whether the Tax Cut and Jobs Act had a measurable impact on job creation rather than only serving to offset the company's turnover rate. Specifically, the union is looking to see exactly where the benefits for the company from the tax bill's passing have gone.
The tax bill and the trend
The bill in question passed in December of 2017 and, as noted by the CWA, that netted AT&T a windfall of around $21 billion, based on its latest annual reports. The report also showed that the company is projecting $3 billion in annual tax savings set to continue for an unspecified time. Conversely, executive pay has gone up in the same period.
Following the company's refunds from the government's tax agency, CWA notes that AT&T paid "no cash income taxes" last year and has cut its capital investments by $1.4 billion. That may not be too surprising since AT&T actively lobbied for the bill to pass and the company has historically been at odds with its workers numerous times.
Earlier CWA findings found that the service provider, while hardly the only of the country's providers to face scrutiny, had cut as many as 16,000 jobs from call centers in the past seven years — closing as many as 44 call centers in the US. Many of those jobs have been moved elsewhere.
Earlier responses complicate matters
In January, AT&T was reportedly moving to eliminate an unspecified number of jobs from its workforce as part of adjustments for the then-impending finalization of its merger with Time Warner. Reports had circulated based on leaked internal memos.
AT&T promptly responded to those reports, indicating that it had actually hired as many as 20,000 new employees in 2018 and over 17,000 more in 2017. It also stated that steps are taken whenever a workforce reduction is required, in order to "lessen the effect on employees."
The company has not expressly addressed the time frame in question, regarding 2019.
The CWA reports that more cuts are incoming, affecting as many as 368 technicians in California specifically and it remains to be seen how the carrier responds to calls for a deeper investigation into its practices.