Employees of AT&T’s wireless business could strike against the company and have invoked President Trump’s campaign promises about protecting U.S. jobs in ongoing AT&T union negotiations, reports Bloomberg.
The report quotes a spokesperson for the Communications Workers of America as saying “It seems someone should be pointing out that [AT&T is] selling service in the U.S. and shifting work to places like India. President Trump made a lot of promises on the campaign trail and we are going to hold him to it.”
CWA is negotiating on behalf of 21,000 AT&T wireless workers nationwide, who have voted to authorize a work stoppage, according to Bloomberg, which says a key issue is job security for call center employees, who want their jobs to remain in the U.S.
AT&T Union Negotiations
What, if any, official role the president could play in negotiations between AT&T and its union is doubtful. Nevertheless, the comments illustrate increased emphasis on U.S. jobs since the November presidential election, which pundits say Trump won because of his emphasis on that issue.
Perhaps the president could play an indirect role in influencing the negotiations.
As Bloomberg notes, AT&T is unlikely to want to upset the president at a time when it has a merger pending with Time Warner that must pass regulatory scrutiny. According to some reports, Trump has indicated that he opposes the merger. And although the decision whether to approve the merger isn’t up to Trump, presidents sometimes influence the decisions of key agencies, as we saw when former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler apparently bowed to pressure from President Obama to impose more expansive Net Neutrality regulation than what Wheeler initially had proposed.
AT&T may want to tread lightly where the president is concerned, in part because of Trump’s potential influence on pending merger approval but also to avoid the president’s wrath. Stock in Boeing dropped after then president-elect Trump reportedly made a negative (and incorrect) Twitter tweet about the company, allegedly in response to something negative that a key Boeing executive had said about him.
An AT&T spokesperson reportedly told Bloomberg that the company was committed to reaching a fair agreement.