Shelton spoke about the struggles that CWA members are facing, in spite of Trump and GOP lawmakers’ proclamations that the TCJA was “a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs”—claims which several analyses have challenged since even before the law took effect.

As a case study, Shelton pointed to AT&T, the largest employer of CWA members. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson supported the TCJA’s corporate tax cuts and claimed the legislation would generate more jobs at his company. However, as Common Dreams reported in January, a CWA analysis—which AT&T disputed—showed the company “cut over 10,000 jobs and announced the closure of three call centers in 2018 despite receiving a $20 billion boost from the deeply unpopular tax law.”

Another CWA analysis, released Tuesday, suggested the company “paid no cash income taxes in 2018 and slashed capital investments.” The analysis relied on AT&T’s latest annual report, which CWA acknowledged “does not provide adequate detail to fully understand AT&T’s tax expenditures.”

Given the limitations of the public information, the union called on AT&T “to provide a detailed disclosure of its tax liabilities, expenditures, and refunds over the past three years to give Congress and the public better insight into the true impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.”

“It’s disgraceful that AT&T got the massive tax break it lobbied for, may have paid no cash income taxes, and then turned around and shattered people’s livelihoods,” Shelton said in a statement on Tuesday. “AT&T provided cover for legislators to pass the tax bill with its promise of investing in workers, but AT&T’s own data shows those promises were just veils for corporate greed. I’m encouraged that Congress is finally digging into how companies like AT&T are harming American workers.”

“Unfortunately, AT&T is not unique,” Shelton told lawmakers in open testimony on Wednesday. “Across the economy, large corporations are retaining profits for wealthy executives and shareholders rather than investing in the U.S. economy,” according to his testimony. He pointed to General Motors and Wells Fargo as other examples.

The hearing also featured testimonies from Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute; Jason Oh, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law; Nancy Abramowitz, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law and director of the Janet R. Spragens Federal Tax Clinic; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum.

“Going forward,” Gould argued in her testimony (pdf), “policymakers should prioritize keeping labor markets tight while also strengthening institutions and policies that provide workers the leverage they will need to achieve decent wage growth even when the economy is not at full employment.”

“These policies and institutions,” Gould said, “include strengthening and enforcing labor standards, making it easier for workers to collectively bargain, and raising the federal minimum wage.”


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