AT&T Agrees to Bring 3,000 Jobs Back to U.S. in New Labor Pact

  • Union represents 20,000 landline workers in Southwest region
  • Negotiation around keeping jobs jibes with Trump’s message

AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone-service provider, will bring about 3,000 jobs back to the U.S. as part of a tentative labor agreement with union employees in Texas and four other states.

The Dallas-based phone company has committed to adding the jobs in its Southwest district by the end of 2018, a spokesman said Friday. The Communications Workers of America, representing about 20,000 landline and call-center workers, still needs to ratify the contract.

With the accord, AT&T avoids a dispute with the union workers at a particularly sensitive time. The company is trying to gain federal regulatory approval for its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. It’s one of the few deals publicly opposed by President Donald Trump, who has criticized U.S. employers that move jobs abroad.

Bringing jobs back to the U.S. isn’t a typical part of a labor agreement, Marty Richter, a company spokesman, said in an email. The accord affects workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. AT&T had more than 268,500 employees at year end.

“It’s an example of what can be achieved when the sides work together and we appreciate the work of the CWA’s Southwest leadership team to make this possible,” Richter said.

Last month, CWA leaders representing wireless workers threatened to strike as their contract expired. Talks between the two sides are continuing, with job security the main point of contention, officials said at the time.

During his campaign, Trump aimed critical tweets at corporations like Toyota Motor Corp. to cajole companies into keeping jobs in the U.S.

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