06.13.18

With Wells Fargo Layoffs in Waukesha County, Senator Baldwin Questions CEO on Use of Corporate Tax Breaks for Stock Buybacks

Wells Fargo received $3.4 billion boost from corporate tax cut, announced spending $22 billion on stock buybacks that largely benefit wealthy corporate executives and shareholders

Big bank has laid off over 700 workers since the tax bill became law, including 46 in Menomonee Falls

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to Timothy Sloan, Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo, urging the bank to reverse its decision to close a Menomonee Falls call center and lay off 46 workers.

This year, Wells Fargo received a huge and permanent corporate tax cut from the Republican tax bill that boosted big banks profits by more than $3 billion. Wells Fargo has also announced that they would spend more than $22 billion on stock buybacks. Wells Fargo has laid off over 700 workers since the tax bill became law, including 46 in Waukesha County. In addition, Wells Fargo has steadily shipped jobs overseas. Last year, the bank began building a second call center in the Philippines for more than 7,000 workers in addition to the 4,000 currently working in the country as of May 2017. 

“Big banks like Wells Fargo have outsourced jobs and been given huge and permanent corporate tax breaks. The result is pink slips for workers in Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “Instead of rewarding hard work, Wells Fargo is spending profits on stock buybacks and laying off workers.”

Since Congressional Republicans passed corporate tax breaks, corporations have announced over $470 billion in stock buybacks that largely benefit top executives and wealthy shareholders.

In March, Senator Baldwin introduced the Reward Work Act to rein in corporate stock buybacks by giving workers a say in how their company’s profits are spent.

Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to the Board of Directors of Kimberly-Clark questioning the company’s recent announcement to use corporate tax cuts for its plan to close facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing, lay off over 600 workers, and spend up to $900 million on stock buybacks for executives and shareholders this year.

In addition, Senator Baldwin has pressed President Trump to sign an executive order protecting American call center jobs and to support the bipartisan U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act that Senator Baldwin has cosponsored. A recent report by the Communication Workers of America and the Committee for Better Banks highlights how big banks have continued to send call center jobs overseas. The report details how these banks have recently laid off call center workers in the U.S. while maintaining and even growing their call center operations in other countries.

The full letter to Wells Fargo is available here and included below.

 

Timothy Sloan
Chief Executive Officer
Wells Fargo & Co.
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104 

Dear Mr. Sloan:

I am writing to express my concern for your decision to lay off Wells Fargo workers in Wisconsin.  On May 30, 2018, Wells Fargo notified Wisconsin state officials that it plans to close its call center in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and terminate the 46 employees that work there. This comes just six months after Wells Fargo received a massive corporate tax cut that has already boosted the bank’s profits by $3.35 billion this year and announced it would spend $22 billion on stock buybacks to enrich its executives and wealthy shareholders.  To make matters worse, Wells Fargo has steadily shipped jobs overseas by outsourcing thousands of call center jobs to foreign countries. Instead of taking a massive corporate tax cut and rewarding your executives and wealthy shareholders with stock buybacks while laying off workers in Wisconsin, Wells Fargo should halt the closure of the Menomonee Falls call center, end its stock buyback program and start using its profits to reward its workers here at home.    

President Trump and Congressional Republicans promoted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a vehicle to spur investment and hiring in the United States. The White House alleged that “businesses of all sizes are using their tax savings to invest in their hardworking employees.” Yet, instead of rewarding workers, corporations have taken their tax breaks and spent more than $470 billion on stock buybacks that enriched executives and wealthy shareholders while laying off thousands of workers.  Wells Fargo is a prime example. You have laid off over 700 workers since the tax bill became law, while announcing you’ll spend $22 billion on stock buybacks that enrich wealthy shareholders and corporate executives. For example, you received 86 percent of your pay in 2017 in the form of stock and your total compensation that year was 291 times more than the median Wells Fargo employees’.

In addition, Wells Fargo has steadily shipped jobs overseas.  In fact, you have moved U.S. call center jobs—including a 1,000-employee facility in Milwaukee in 2015—to your new facility in the Philippines. Last year, your bank began building a second call center in the Philippines for more than 7,000 workers in addition to the 4,000 currently working in the country as of May 2017. 

In closing, I must again stress my deep disappointment with the actions your bank has taken both before and after it received a corporate tax cut. I ask that you reverse your decision to close the Wisconsin call centers, halt your stock buyback program, and invest in American workers.