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Trump Denounced for Doing Nothing as AT&T Moves to Outsource Thousands of Jobs in 2020

"American workers are tired of waiting for President Trump to do something on this issue."

President Donald Trump speaks to 5000 contractors at the Shell Chemicals Petrochemical Complex on Aug. 13, 2019 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is facing outrage from workers and labor rights advocates over his failure to take action as AT&T prepares to shift thousands of U.S. jobs overseas next year, despite reaping a massive windfall from the 2017 Republican tax law.

Axios reported Sunday that the telecom giant, which announced last year that it received over $20 billion in tax cuts thanks to the GOP law, is "poised to send thousands into the new year hunting for new jobs after assigning them to train their own foreign replacement."

"They've gone from great hope in President Trump's administration, to great discouragement."
—Sara Blackwell, attorney for displaced workers

"Workers described shock and confusion when they were told during a scripted phone call that after a decade or longer at AT&T, they'd have to work for a contractor or resign," Axios reported. "Some were told they could not apply for other jobs inside AT&T."

According to Axios, three current or recently-fired AT&T workers "broke down in tears" during phone interviews about the company's outsourcing.

"The sad reality is you've just been terminated without your severance," said one worker. "You're at the mercy of a company that doesn't really want you."

Trump, despite his campaign trail pledge to punish companies that send jobs overseas, has not spoken out about AT&T's outsourcing.

"They wouldn't be doing it if I was president," Trump said of corporate offshoring during a campaign rally in North Carolina in 2016.

Sara Blackwell, a Florida-based attorney who represents displaced U.S. workers, told Axios that "American workers are tired of waiting for President Trump to do something on this issue."

"They've gone from great hope in President Trump's administration, to great discouragement," Blackwell said.

Far from cracking down on corporate outsourcing, Trump's tax law incentivizes companies to shift jobs and profits overseas by slashing the tax rate on profits American companies earn abroad.

"President Trump promised the American people he'd end the march of jobs and profits overseas," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement last year. "Instead, he's doled out massive new tax breaks that reward offshoring."

As Common Dreams reported last month, Trump's Treasury Department is moving to gut regulations designed to prevent companies from avoiding U.S. taxes by stashing profits overseas.

"The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift from Donald Trump," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said at the time.

Unions have expressed concerns that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a sweeping trade deal announced by Trump and House Democrats on Dec. 10, will do little to stop corporations like AT&T from offshoring jobs.

"Much more work remains to fight against the offshoring of jobs and the economic inequality that has plagued our country for so long," the United Autoworkers said in a statement earlier this month. "While trade deals are important, they alone will not cure all our ills. We need our elected leaders to do much more."

"The administration and Congress should start by ending bad tax laws that reward companies for moving jobs abroad and finally fix our labor laws by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act), and other measures, to ensure all workers have a right to have voice on the job," the union added.

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