AT&T slammed by Bay Area mayors over ‘greed’ and ‘corporate games’ as it rakes in profits and cuts jobs

Dozens of mayors and other elected officials from the Bay Area and around California have lashed out at AT&T, claiming the telecommunications giant is denying high-speed broadband and reliable landline service to communities while reaping massive profits and firing workers.

“This is the innovation capital of the world. AT&T should be innovating to create more good-paying jobs, not resorting to corporate games that shortchange workers and the communities it serves,” Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor said in a union-issued press release about a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson from 79 officials.

The firm is failing to provide sufficient service in many areas because it is “cutting thousands of middle class jobs,” the Communications Workers of America said in the press release.

In response to an inquiry about the letter, AT&T pointed to the scale of its employment and its level of unionization.

“We employ more full-time, union-represented employees than any company in America,” AT&T spokesman Steven Maviglio said in an email. “We hired nearly 3,300 people last year alone in California, of which over 2,700 were union-represented employees, and we’re looking to hire more union workers in California this year.”

Among the 79 officials signing the letter were Santa Clara’s Mayor Gillmor, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin,  Daly City Mayor Glenn Sylvester, Emeryville Mayor Scott Donahue, Sunnyvale vice-mayor Darcy Paul, and state Senator Jim Beall from Silicon Valley.

Also signing were city councilors from San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Hayward, Alameda, Emeryville, Berkeley, and Richmond, along with supervisors from San Francisco and Santa Clara, including Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors president Dave Cortese.

“Over the past five years, AT&T has cut more than 2,500 jobs in California alone,” the letter said. In the Bay Area, state records on mass layoffs show that since September 2015, the firm has announced permanent layoffs of 425 workers in San Ramon and 92 in Oakland.

On top of criticizing AT&T’s employment practices in the March 14 letter titled “AT&T’s greed hurts customers and workers,” officials attacked the company’s services.

“Not only is AT&T failing to provide access to 21st century high-speed connections to many communities, but it is also not maintaining the copper lines that are vital to landline phone access, 911 and emergency services and basic internet service,” the letter said.

The company argued that serving customers is its “first priority.”

“To that end we have invested more than $7.25 billion in our California wireless and wired networks in the past three years,” Maviglio said. “Nationally, for the fifth year in a row, we were singled out last year as the largest capital investor in the U.S.”

In the letter, AT&T’s executive pay — Stephenson reportedly made $28.4 million last year, for example — and profits — $13 billion last year, according to the company’s financial reporting — were presented in contrast to the job cuts.

 

 

Photo: Michael Morasca and Tim Stacy with AT&T work to install communication lines in Monterey County in 2016. (Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald)

 

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  • JazzAzz

    Well they’ve got it 100% correct, getting rid of so many techs, the few central office inside techs they have are now overworked like near slaves, being GPS’d and tracked for every single minute of their day, now doing the work of 3 to 4 OR more people. Also now, especially retirees being nickled and dimed toward their benefits, while the CEO is reaping in near 30 million per year. I would be willing to bet that his greedy A$$ is not being tracked. And so many call centers and those jobs all going offshore, something that President Trump should seriously look at!!!

  • Tyota

    I’m not sure what a letter alone will do to shake up this monopoly that own so much of the communications infrastructure that runs through our communities, but its long overdue. The state of internet choices in one of the tech capitols of the world, simply sucks. Sadly there are other companies that would love to come in with more modern, faster networks, but find too many AT&T obstacles. With control of our wires, AT&T is resting on their laurels, in spite of what they claim. With little competition, they mostly maintain things, and being very short sighted.

    AT&T recently acquired Direct TV, my monthly bill has doubled, and the only way to lower cost is the “bundle” with other services. We are literally being cornered by these companies, and they just sit back and say sorry, take it or leave it (they don’t care).

  • althink

    These mayors need to fix their own businesses first. Where were they when pension reform initiatives were being sabotaged by Kamala Harris? AT&T should have responded with a letter citing the out-of-control public employee wages and benefits that have resulted in service bankruptcies if not actual bankruptcies.

 
 
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