AT&T plans to give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees because of tax reform

AT&T (T) plans to give a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 employees as Republicans get closer to signing tax reform into law. 

“If the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays,” the company said in a statement.

Shortly after AT&T made the announcement, President Donald Trump highlighted the news as he celebrated the passing of the tax bill.

“And that’s because of what we did. That’s pretty good,” Trump said. “That’s pretty good.”

CEO Randall Stephenson said that this tax reform “will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs.” He added that the company plans to increase its capital investment, which will create more jobs.

Later, Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) announced it would raise its minimum wage $15 an hour and would give out a $1,000 bonus to 13,500 employees for the same reason. That was followed by Wells Fargo (WFC) announcing an increase in its minimum wage to $15 million and a $400 million increase in philanthropic initiatives.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson speaks during a moderated discussion before the Economic Club of New York, in New York City, U.S., November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Speaking at an Economic Club of New York lunch in late November, Stephenson said that if tax reform passed they would spend “at least” $1 billion and create an estimated 7,000 jobs.

“From my standpoint, the driver of this is the business tax reform… if we get investment going, we get productivity going, we get wage gain going, we invest another billion dollars,” Stephenson said at the time. “Every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.”

He described passing tax reform as a “major” item for the U.S. economy.

“I cannot overstate how important I think a tax bill that makes the US corporate taxes a competitive regime around the world — that’s big. That’s significant,” he said.

He added that it would be a “capital-freeing” event for corporate America.

“You are freed up to invest more capital,” he said. “We have so many initiatives and projects that we would like to invest more in.”

AT&T’s announcement comes amid a suit from the Justice Department to block AT&T/DirectTV’s planned $108 billion acquisition of entertainment giant Time Warner (TWX) claiming the deal would “substantially lessen competition, resulting in higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans.”

Some have speculated that the government’s move stems from Trump’s dislike of CNN. Trump, who has has been public about his disdain for CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, said during the 2016 campaign that this is a deal that his administration would not approve because it’s “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” 

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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