By Sahid Fawaz
Comcast's $1,000 bonuses and promises of new jobs are being overshadowed by reports of a mass firing right before Christmas.
"Comcast reportedly fired about 500 salespeople shortly before Christmas, despite claiming that the company would create thousands of new jobs in exchange for a big tax cut.
Comcast apparently tried to keep the firings secret while it lobbied for the tax cut that was eventually passed into law by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Trump in late December. The Philadelphia Inquirer revealed the Comcast firings this week in an article based on information from an anonymous former employee, Comcast documents, and other sources in the company.
The former employee who talked to the Inquirer "could not be identified because of a nondisclosure agreement as part of a severance package," the article said. The Inquirer headline notes that Comcast was able to implement the firings 'quietly,' avoiding any press coverage until this week.
Ars asked Comcast today if all 500 fired employees had to sign those nondisclosure agreements, but we didn't receive an answer. We also asked why the firings were necessary given that the tax cut was supposed to create more Comcast jobs, and we asked if Comcast has specific plans to create jobs in other areas.
Comcast gave us this statement but offered no further details: "Periodically, we reorganize groups of employees and adjust our sales tactics and talent. This change in the Central Division is an example of this practice and occurred in the context of our adding hundreds of frontline and sales employees. All these employees were offered generous severance and an opportunity to apply for other jobs at Comcast."
A Comcast spokesperson also confirmed the firings to the Inquirer.
The firings happened around December 15. On December 20, Comcast announced that, because of the pending tax cut and recent repeal of net neutrality rules, it would give "special bonuses" of $1,000 to more than 100,000 employees and invest more than $50 billion in infrastructure over the next five years.
'With these investments, we expect to add thousands of new direct and indirect jobs,' Comcast said at the time.
We examined Comcast's investment claims in an article on December 21. As it turns out, Comcast's annual investments already soared during the two-plus years that net neutrality rules were on the books, and the $50 billion amount could be achieved if those investments simply continued increasing by a modest amount.
Comcast was one of the most active companies lobbying for lower corporate tax rates in 2017, Vox reported shortly before the tax changes passed in December.
The 500 fired employees were 'managers, supervisors, and direct sales people in Chicago, Florida, and other parts of Comcast's Central region, mostly in the Midwest and Southeastern United States,' the Inquirer reported."
For the rest of the story, read the full article at Ars Technica here.